A Many Mantled Month

April’s here, a month of many seasons. Yesterday we had snow, today we have brilliant sun, and tomorrow could be anything. No wonder it starts with a Fools’ Day.

coming

future glory

Sometimes it hosts the wandering holidays of Easter and Passover, but it’s not committed to them.

April aspires to spring, and carries the mantle of expectation so far as to encompass both Earth Day and National Poetry Month. It is famous for rain. Chaucer begins his Canterbury Tales with it: “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote…” Children sing “April showers bring May flowers.” But daffodils bloom in April, so presumably Wordsworth wrote about those crowds of them in an April past. Forsythia delivers “spring’s yellow telegram” in April, and the hellebores that

early april

hellebores blooming

nosed up in March are April openers.

But April flowers don’t always bring happiness. When Edna St.Vincent Millay lost a loved one in April she wrote, “April/ Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” T.S. Eliot called April the cruelest month. Its position as Child Abuse Prevention Month would seem to agree with that.

I spent parts of several Aprils in Chile, where they ushered in the autumn. Spring had to wait for October.

April also hosts International Pillow Fight Day. Imagine an international pillow fight: opposing border guards toe to toe with bolsters; or maybe two guys with huge pillows flinging them across an ocean. Or over a wall. That one seems quite independent of season, though, so it would work in any hemisphere. And in any hemisphere, a day dedicated to learning to fight softly seems like a good idea.

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