A good one might be “Search for Sanity”—and that because March, in a sense, is dedicated to madness. Is that because Spring comes, at last, late in the month—and by that time we’ve lost our sanity to Winter? Yes, come to think of it, Spring must have something to do with it. I’m told that the phrase “Mad as a March Hare” goes all the way back to the mid-sixteenth century. As the weather turns mild, we expect to see squirrels behaving madly here. The Mad Hatter is closely associated with that famous hare. March Madness comes this month, the NCAA basketball championship. Hiding behind the furnace, I can mutter madly that frenzy over basketball is madness anytime, but never mind. We also live just a short canoe-ride from Canada across Lake Saint Claire, and in that country March is a mad month because it is the last one in Canada’s fiscal year. Frantic budget battles break out.
In my country of birth, humble little Hungary, Március tizenötödike, March 15th, thus the day right smack in the middle of the month, is the national holiday. It is Hungary’s independence day. Its first celebration took place in 1848. Now I submit that a little country like Hungary is mad to imagine that it can be independent for very long. Hungary’s independence lasted until 1849. Then came Russian troops (much as they also came later, in another revolution, in 1956, that one also crushed), but that first time the Russians came at the behest of Austria’s Franz Joseph. And so on it’s gone ever since, with brief and troubled periods of token, quasi, and actual independence. Sheer madness to aspire. But the aspiration alone, the Search for Sanity, is itself worthy of national celebration.