March, to me, is a month characterized by dichotomies. Many of us are familiar with the saying, "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb", which refers to the variable weather characterized by a cold, blustery beginning followed by a much warmer, pleasant end.
Many of us have heard the quote, "Beware the ides of March", made famous by Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar. In the play, Caesar is betrayed by his friend and assassinated on March 15th (the ides of March). And since then, this day has been associated as a day of bad luck or bad omens.
Fortunately, a few days later, many of us celebrate St. Patrick's Day, which commemorates the death of St. Patrick (a patron saint of Ireland) on March 17th. The shamrock, which many consider a good luck charm, was often seen on icons of St. Patrick, where in one hand he is holding a cross, and in the other, a sprig of shamrock.
Life is full of dichotomies. Good vs. Evil, Pain vs. Pleasure, Right vs. Wrong. As an organization that works to promote and advocate for heritage, we often encounter the differing attitudes and opinions to the values of heritage that can polarize a community. The struggle between issues of conservation and development, or restoration and destruction, is an ongoing struggle that can cause frustration, annoyance, anger, disbelief and even heartbreak.
The Paramount Theatre in March 2013, awaiting final demolition. Despite being listed on the National Trust for Canada's Top 10 Endangered Places in 2012, and a last ditch attempt by a grass roots community group to save the theatre, Chilliwack city council voted in favour of the staff recommendation to demolish the building for economic reasons, rejecting the idea to run it as a not-for-profit theatre.
We are all too familiar with the disappointment we have felt over the demolition of a building in the name of development; or the frustration over a decision that did not go in our favour. Things and events will happen over which we have no control, but it’s how we react to them that’s important.
I would like to think that in the face of setbacks, we will remain positive, persistent, and determined. Optimism can do wonders to turn a negative into a positive. But a little bit of Irish luck never hurts!