Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.
Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.
Inigo Montoya: What's that?
Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.
The Princess Bride
Ohio in March is only mostly dead, though you swear you should go through its pockets and look for loose change.
Not that you’d find any- the Governor and his corporate masters long ago looted every corpse in this state, but I’m digressing.
The spiritually confused poet T.S. Elliot once wrote that: “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.”
As in many other instances in his life, Elliot was wrong. He is wrong about April in the way he was wrong about his first marriage (having once written, “To [Vivienne] , the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land.)”
Elliot was wrong about April as he was also undoubtedly wrong and confused about religion (having once described himself as having “a Catholic cast of mind, a Calvinist heritage, and a Puritanical temperament.”). We should also mention that Elliot was also raised in St Louis, worked as a banker and that on 10 January 1957, at the age of 68, he married Esmé Valerie Fletcher, who was 30.
Clearly Elliot was not a man to be trusted under most circumstances, though like the proverbial blind squirrel or stopped clock, he was right sometimes-even if unintentionally.
These lines from the The Wasteland, for instance- while not written about Ohio in March- describe my fair state precisely. “ After the frosty silence in the gardens/ After the agony in stony places/ The shouting and the crying Prison and palace and reverberation.”
For while March is the cruelest month- not April- in Ohio; there is an abundance of frosty silence in stony places with much crying in prison and palace.
In short, March is a horrid time to be in Ohio.
The north end of the state remains a frequently frozen and windswept tundra; the southern territories are a dirty wrinkled wasteland aesthetically devoid of any color; and the middle of the state is flat and gray skied and overrun with insurance companies and that species of shit-house rat known as politician.
All right, I exaggerate, we, at least in the south end of the state, do have color. In fact, we have a thousand shades of dun and brown. Come March, we own the marked on brown. Even the scarcely seen wild life, the deer and Canada Geese, are brown.
Beyond that monochromatic palette, however, there is only cold and dampness and misery. The month invariably seems like a year. Nothing worthwhile happens. If it were not for beer and the NHL I would have died many years ago, for there exists no other reasons to live. Beer and hockey on the big screen are the only differences, in truth, between Ohio in March and prison. For Ohio is a place wherein one does not so much live, but does time.
And at no time does time pass so slowly, so painfully, as Ohio in March. There is time aplenty. Time to contemplate the spring that never seems to come although experience teaches that it is only a matter of time before there is greenery and even color, yet the vast starkness before your eyes makes believing impossible.
And yet we dream. Dream of that day when March will end and the forsythia and crocuses will bloom. When the gray sky will part and the sun will shine. Someday. Though of course, wishing only serves to intensify the pain. That much Elliot was right about.
And yet, we cannot help ourselves, so “we think of the key /Turn in the door once and turn once only/ We think of the key, each in his prison/ Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison ….”