Tuesday, March 4, 2014
It's March's version of Groundhog Day. No furry critter looking for a sign, but the day itself delivering an invitation to launch, a kind of call to arms, and feet.
Interesting how many months have a first-week day that launches its particular 4+ week trek with vigor, introspection, or festivity: New Year's Day, Groundhog Day, March Forth, April Fool's Day, Mayday...July 4th...Rounding Cape August (not widely known), Labor Day...Day of the Dead...and "the first of December was covered in snow..." To say nothing of exclaiming "Rabbit, Rabbit!" for luck on the first day of every month, if you remember.
Back to March Forth. Like most wordsfolk, I believed I alone discovered this remarkable sound-alike coincidence back in the 1980s. I remember working in an after school care program in Newton, Mass., and on 3/4 I organized a parade through the empty halls of the school building we inhabited: a half-dozen or so kids and me, banging rhythmically on pot lids and other noisemakers, chanting "March forth! March forth!" after I assured them that it was indeed a real holiday, even if they'd never heard of it.
However, word has spread, probably disseminated by those same kids, now in their mid-thirties, although somehow also trapped as eight-year-olds in my memory.
A quick swoop into Google yields such evidence as the terrific March Fourth Marching Band, the March Forth Fun Run in Seattle, the March Forth With Hope Foundation to cure cancer and the"How to Celebrate March Fourth" website, with instructions for throwing a celebration of setting goals (4. Choose your food based on a marching theme, such as trail mix, shoestring potatoes, "lettuce march" salad, rocky road, etc.)
Me? I'm writing about it. Isn't that worth something? Isn't a blog entry a marching forth? You wish, pal, says my judge, who's that guy of indeterminate age on the treadmill next to mine, who sets his speed to Intimidate, making my 3.5mph look sedate by comparison. Except I didn't even go to the workout place today, of all days. And yes, a message on the talking drum is a marching forth of sounds. It just seems a little like "talking the walk".
So, fine, I'll march 4th to Walgreen's to pick up a prescription, at least, knowing that the real test is not March 4th, but March sixth, which doesn't command anything, says the gravelly voice echoing in the empty gym, except a little attention, maybe? If that's not too much to ask?