March sets the real Vermonters apart from the rest.

It’s a snarling little month, one with few offers for relief. Sure you have St. Patrick’s, but even that loses something when it amounts to a mid-week holiday*. Wearing green to the office hardly constitutes a good time, particularly when one remembers the 9 a.m. pub crawls of yore.

March promises a bitter cold, sharpened by a lack of wonder at the so-called magic of the snow. March snow is dingy, dated, long past its due; the promise of an April thaw seems more mocking than real.  The winter will never end. March will drag on for forever.

The fake Vermonters can’t take it. They retreat to their warmer spots, having skied or boarded enough slopes, felt their cheeks burn pink or garnet just enough times to cherish this winter wonderland they call their seasonal home.

And yet the real Vermonters stay. They stick it out, utilizing whatever coping mechanisms they have at their disposal. Sweaters and hats for some, DVDs and hot chocolate for others.

Sometimes, however, one realizes there’s only one way to deal with the chill that brings digits numb after a few moments out in the elements. One walks into the bar with a friend and plunks one’s purse down onto a stool.

Rum and whatever one can mix into it. Hurricane? Yes please. Hell, Mardi Gras was only a few weeks ago, let’s celebrate our own Fat Tuesday Night.

And then one waits, knowing that others will join to revel in this bitter night and celebrate our ability to persevere. Then, of course, scamper individually off in the directions leading to home.

Still cold, but somehow a little bit better than before.

*Birthdays that may happen to fall on St. Patrick’s however, do certainly give the month of March a certain special notability.