It’s March, month of the mad hare, of spring, the ram’s month, and as the French say, “les giboulées de mars”, which roughly translates as “the blustery weather of March”.  So far it’s been very gray and dreary, unless I’m in the office working, and then the sun comes out and sparkles at me as if to tease me. When I go outdoors, the clouds hustle overhead and glower. We had a few snow flurries, a couple showers, and a few gusts of wind – a mild March so far.

I’m in a hurry for spring to come, and usually it hits us like a brick here in France. One day it’s chilly and there’s frost in the morning, and the next day heat will crack the ground and the air will be brassy with sunshine. Spring flowers will bloom and die, their petals opened, baked and browned – in the space of a day. Lilac will blush then fade, tanned by the sun. It seems we have no spring here, just a long, mild winter that has pansies and crocuses poking through the mud and dead leaves in January, forsythia gilding the branches in February, and then in March it’s a race between willow and genet, tulip and narcissus, before a heat wave comes.

We have a week or two of very warm weather in April, and then it can go either way – a long, cool, wet summer or a blazing hot summer interspersed with thunder showers. Guess which one I like?

Soon up is the Salon de la Chasse (the hunting salon) here in Mantes. Whatever your feelings about hunting, I think that it’s far more humane to have animals living in the wild, free to roam, than raised in pens and slaughtered. At least the wild animals have a chance to escape the hunter’s gun. A cow, pig, sheep or chicken has no such luck, and often their end is full of terror and pain, their suffering can last for days as they are prodded out of their pens, loaded into trucks, and shipped to factories where they are considered nothing but future meat. A wild animal keeps its dignity. At the end of the hunting day, the animals are laid out, with green branches placed on them. Words are spoken over them. They are respected. We eat the animals we kill at the hunt. I wouldn’t hunt otherwise. There is another consideration – if the animals were not hunted, culled actually because there are strict laws about what can be hunted (what sex, ages, etc.), there would be a population explosion that would lead to crops being destroyed, fences hunger, illness, and a population of less healthy wild animals. I’m just reiterating because at the Salon de Chasse this year, a large delegation of “anti-hunt” people are planning a protest. I don’t mind, but their arguments are scientifically unsound, and that pisses me off. It’s like a bunch of anti-vaxers coming to a medical conference. At least get the science right – it’s easy to do.

Auguste is going to get his spring haircut next week, so he’ll be chic in time for the salon. He loves to go, he’s a sociable dog, and there is plenty to see, hear, and eat there! (His favorite stand is the Alpine cheese and sausage stand, of course!)