“In like a lion, out like a lamb”

1. Text (folk simile)

“In like a lion, and out like a lamb”

2. Context 

My informant grew up in the midwest in Indiana and frequently heard people say March goes “in like a lion, out like a lamb” in regards to the month of March. He explains how the month of March is usually very cold in the midwest, but by the end of March, there’s sunshine and good weather. He compares the cold to a lion that roars representing the “bad, ugly” weather while at the end of March, the lamb represented the calm, nice weather and the end of the harsh cold. My informant was raised in the midwest, in Indiana, as well as in Texas as his family all reside in Texas. He recalled how he never heard this saying in the south, only when he was living in the midwest. 

3. Analysis/YOUR interpretation

This folk simile was new to me and I originally wasn’t sure how to interpret it. However, given the context, the midwest, where it is known to get cold, is a representative of the lion as I’m reminded of a lion’s mane and the thick hair of a lion which may protect against the cold weather, the mane specifically known to protect the neck of the lion to survive the cold. Also, it should be noted that lions typically huddle together in the winter to stay warm interacting with other lions in their community for protection. Lions enjoy the snow, however, as it allows them to remain active without overheating. As for lambs, “out like a lamb” likely goes hand-in-hand with how lambs are typically born in the winter months and require more energy to retain a stable body temperature. In retaining stable body temperature, lambs usually call for sheltering during these winter months and have trouble withstanding. Also in terms of physicality, a lion’s mane, in comparison to a lamb’s coat, seems to be thicker and likely more protective against harsh conditions. In regarding the month of March to come “in like a lion”, seems representative of the initial feelings of being strong and protected, ready for winter, while regarding how March goes “out like a lamb”, is representative of the lion’s mane no longer being able to protect against the cold and fragility as a lamb is simply a baby (under 1 year) goat. The cold of march overtook the lion and left them as a lamb in need of protection and shelter. This saying is illustrative of midwestern weather as those not from this region may not understand that in the northern hemisphere March classifies as spring and not winter. But being a part of a region where march leans more towards winter weather, the folk simile makes more sense.