By Andrew Hawes — Jr. Warden
An expression that doesn’t seem commonly in use out here in California (...where, let’s be honest, the “winter” is really more of a rainy season…) is one referring to the month of March that I heard frequently growing up in New York: “March comes in like a Lion, and goes out like a Lamb.” There are of course multiple theories surrounding the origin of this saying, but its use is common- it refers to the winter weather changing into spring, as the month of March is often one that starts with winter still in full force but ends with milder and more spring-like weather.
As a youth, I never thought more about it than that. An early March snowstorm? “In like a Lion!” Starting to see flowers push through the snow? “Out like a lamb!” However, as a Mason, I have a new way to conceive of how this saying applies to life, even out here in California.
Like March in the parable, a journey through Masonry should be “In like a Lion, out like a Lamb.”
While not all of us are particularly lion-like in our attributes before we become Masons, there are characteristics of male lions that we can all draw parallels to in ourselves. Male lions are for the most part lazy, indolent creatures. They spend up to 20 hours of their days sleeping, and most of the four they are awake are spent on feasting and procreating– not exactly dividing their time evenly between appropriate behaviors, as we are taught to do as Entered Apprentices! We join Masonry to help ourselves become better men, taking those attributes of ourselves that need shaping and improving, such as sloth, gluttony and lust, and regulating them in our lives. If we are successful in our Masonic Journey, we learn to practice that purity of thought and action that we feel is so important to achieve – turning ourselves into the proverbial Lamb. We even wear the lambskin apron as our badge – symbolically donning innocence, renouncing our lion-like attributes, and reshaping our minds and lives into ones that we feel are better ones.
Of course, there is balance in this life- just because we should not over-indulge and consume 20 pounds of meat in a day as the lion does, doesn’t mean we need to eat nothing but grass, like the lamb! For this month's stated meeting dinner at the lodge, we will be enjoying the traditional March celebration of a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Our busy chefs will be serving up Corned Beef and Cabbage with bourbon-glazed carrots, soda bread and Green Ice cream for dessert.
I hope you’ll join the rest of the flock at the lodge on March 3rd and share your pride in being a lion who has chosen to don lambskin!