10 on 10 is a monthly column featuring 10 pieces of visual inspiration. Each month has a theme, and this month’s is: “March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb.”
I was curious about the origin of this saying, and found out that it not only relates to the chaotic state of March’s weather patterns, but is also attributed to other lore. Many scholars trace the phrase back to early U.S. settlers, but it is also noted as being an English proverb. Without technology, hunters, gatherers and farmers of the time relied on weather observations to forecast the weather. Often times, as they observed, early March was marked by biting cold and winter storms—the lion’s roar. By the end of the month, the weather can often be warm, spring-like and docile—the gentle lamb. I’ve seen enough Marches in my time to know that this is often the case, but not always. I clearly remember the 25.4 inches of snow that fell on April Fool’s Day in 1998. It was the fourth-biggest snowstorm in Boston history.
But the weather is not the only origin of this saying. The stars were also a source of the proverb. At the start of March, the constellation Leo the Lion is on the horizon at sunset. By the end of the month, Aries the Ram is on the horizon. And my internet investigating brought up countless, and confusing, accounts of biblical references. That stuff is so coded in metaphors and meanings I’m not even gonna try to deduce what’s going on.
These ten pieces will inspire you to “RROOOAARRR!!!” or “bahhhahhhh” at your local weather—and if you do that, please send me a video.
Foire de Lyon illustration by Brave the Woods
Concert poster by Aaron Eiland
Leo Belgicus (Lion of Belgium): a map of The Netherlands and Belgium from the year 1611 by Jodocus Hondius
Illustration from The Happy Lion’s Vacation. Book by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin.
Lions & Lambs logo by Gareth Hardey
Rocking sheep by Danish Crafts
Vintage Mary had a Little Lamb Postcard
Silence of the Lambs poster by Creative Spark
Aries and Musca Borealis as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825
Wolf and lamb print by Marta Colomer