March this year certainly came in like a lion -it was minus-2 on March 1 in my backyard- but it’s also going out like one, with today’s spiteful off-and-on snow squalls.
Not to worry, though, there’s a big (paschal) lamb waiting just around the corner as we begin the two-week countdown to Passover.
With the Jewish year’s natural calendar drift and every-now-and-then-a-leap-year cycle, the first night of Passover can be as early as March 21 or as late as April 23. That’s quite a range. Picture the average New England lawn on March 21 (mud, snow, brown), and the average New England lawn on April 23 (greener, still muddy, but with the trees blooming).
While Boston in April is warmish, nights are still cool, and it’s really not until May that those picture-perfect New England spring days start rolling around. But there will be one or two gems hidden somewhere in April, when the trees are just green enough, the forsythia are all in bloom, and the spring bulbs are up in the noontime sun. But come 6:30, when the little kids are out there playing baseball and softball in the setting sun, it’s still cold and unforgiving.
I guess this is a longish way of saying that no matter when we open the doors for Elijah at Passover, it’s bound to be a nice, cool evening. I always enjoy walking outside in the cool night air, both to get some fresh oxygen into my food-and-wine-filled stomach, and to cool off from the warmth and kid intensity inside.
Allow me to freely poach and alter one of the more memorable lines from The Shawshank Redemption, “May is one damn fine month to be working outdoors,” as I put a uniquely Passover stamp on it…
Passover evenings are damn fine evenings to be standing outdoors.
Unless, of course, it’s snowing.
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