No, actually March is the cruellest month, due to This Stuff.

Last year about this time, while driving with the whole family in my sister’s van, we had a conversation about why we find this time of year particularly ugly, and, dare I say it, depressing.

Then, as now, we were dog-tired of snow and winter and greyness. We were fed up to the gills with winter’s last gasp and the backdrop of drab skies and drabber city concrete. Unbearable. Sure, there’s the odd warm day that bravely melts what’s left of the snow cover, but as it does so, it reveals the candy wrappers, coffee cups, upturned pots, toppled lawn furniture, dog…stuff. The reveal can be horribly dreary.

But the worst thing of all, the icing on the cake of March drab, the thing that makes my spirits sink every year: the blackish-grey crusty formation of snow that clings to the curbs, like zebra mussels, every spring all over the city. It’s snow that started to melt, then froze again, then melted, then froze again, and all the while becoming encrusted by city dirt, sprayed on by cars, so that now it’s no longer snow, it is a substance entirely new, it’s that awful amalgam called…..what? We all know what it looks like, but we don’t know what to call it.

“It should have a name,” I said.

“But what?”

“It should be descriptive. It should sound like what it is,” we agreed.

We drove along in the car, looking at never-ending crusted piles of this wretched stuff clinging to the curbs of the Danforth Road, and tried out a few names.

Finally…”Meghan!” I cried.

“Meghan? But that’s a girl’s name.”

“Yes, and it’s a name I’ve never liked. Listen to the sound of it Meggghhan! Megghhan! That’s the perfect name for that stuff!”

“It does seem kind of megghan-ish,” my son said. After a short discussion about people we knew named Meghan, some beloved, some not so, we, or I should say, I determined that meghan was the perfect descriptive noun. Meghan it was.

Later on, in the spirit of fairness, and to protect the innocent, and probably perfectly lovely Meghans of the world, we changed the spelling of the word from meghan to megghin.

That was last year. This year Helen and I went out on a hunt for megghin, with the camera. To be very clear, there are different degrees of megghin. The Classic megghin must have no resemblance to snow whatsover. It is almost flat, completely black, equal parts shiny and crusty, slightly rounded on top, and partially pulling away from the pavement at the bottom.

Sometimes an otherwise pristine pile of snow will have sections on megghin encroaching on it. But that isn’t the Classic form. See picture.

It’s almost fun, going megghin-spotting, and adds a bit of zest to the season. I think it will become a new March tradition, starting this year.

Now, go out and seek some megghin of your own. Remember, Classic is best.

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