March and all of its madness has come and is now almost gone; thankfully, we’re about to turn a new page on the calendar. It’s strange to think that not all that long ago we were suffering through snow squalls and sliding on icy sidewalks and looking out our rain-splattered windows—the final straws in this, the winter of our discontent. But now the tulip magnolia across the street is in full bloom, the forsythia, too, and I’m under some wifely pressure to go mow the lawn.
To be honest, I can’t remember if March arrived lion-like, but I will say it seems to be departing on cue in relatively lamb-worthy fashion. So, I wasn’t all that surprised when in my dream last night, I walked into a bar and sat down next to a lion and a lamb who were drinking martinis. I nodded a polite hello, then asked the bartender for one of the same. The lion and the lamb were deep in conversation about the weather which is usually a pretty safe topic of conversation in these parts. I was content to eavesdrop.
“So how would you rate your performance this month?” the lamb asked.
“I’d be lyin’ if I pretended I didn’t do a dandy job bringing it in,” said the king of the jungle.
“Very funny,” said Lamb.
“Sorry,” said the lion. “Sometimes I just can’t help myself.” He lapped up a sip with his tongue. “How ‘bout you? Taking us out like good little lambs?”
Lamb blushed. He seemed like a pretty modest fellow. “Looks like we’re on schedule for a smooth landing. I did get both my shots this month so that’s another good thing.”
“Me, too!” said the lion. “Cheers to us!” They clinked glasses. “I hear this vaccination thing is going pretty well now. Maybe we’ll get to herd immunity pretty soon, maybe by summer. I love a herd with good immunity.” The lion licked his lips, then leaned over and looked at me. “What about you, friend? Vaxed yet?”
I held up two fingers. “Got my second one two weeks ago. I’m good to go.”
“Well then, cheers to you, too!” And they both raised their glasses in my direction. They seemed pretty amiable fellows, these two.
“Tell me something,” I said. “How did you guys get started in the weather business?”
The lion and the lamb glanced at each other and I thought maybe I saw the lamb raise a wooly eyebrow, like ‘oh boy; here we go again.’
“Goes way back,” said Lion. “You know about astrology, right? Don’t you humans like to ask each other about your signs?”
I shrugged. “I never get very far with that line.”
“Tell me about it. Anyway, this month—March—sits astride two signs: Leo and Aries. The lion and the lamb. It was that easy. We were naturals so we got the gig.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “Aries is in March, but not Leo. That’s later, like in July or August.”
The lion’s yellow eyes narrowed. “You sure about that, friend?” I thought I detected a note of menace in the way he looked at me. Maybe this place wasn’t such a peaceable kingdom after all. The lamb was quietly studying the olives in his glass. He glanced in my direction and I thought I heard him whisper, “Don’t get him started.”
It was time to go. I drained my glass and stood up. “Well, guess I’ll be going. Time for dinner soon. We’re going to grill some lam…” I stopped.
“Some what?” asked the lamb. “Not sure I heard you.” Now there was menace in his voice, too. The lion growled and pushed away from the bar. His mane seemed to inflate; he looked larger than life. I started to back away from him but stumbled over an alligator who was just crawling into the bar.
That’s when I woke up with a start. My wife was next to me, calmly reading her book. She looked at me. “Are you alright?”
My pulse was racing. “Just a crazy dream. I was having a drink with a lion and a lamb.”
She shrugged. “Must be March. Go back to sleep, dear. Oh, by the way; I think tomorrow we should eat those lamb chops that have been in the freezer all winter. The weather’s supposed to be nice. Maybe you could grill them outside? There’s mint coming up in the garden; I’ll make a sauce. Where are you going?”
“I need a drink of water. I’ll be right back.”
Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer who lives in Chestertown. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy Magazine. Two collections of his essays (“Musing Right Along” and “I’ll Be Right Back”) are available on Amazon. Jamie’s website is www.musingjamie.com.