Calling April the cruelest month seems a bit over the top, like calling an American baseball championship the World Series, or a chocolate cake better than sex.
But that’s poetry for you, fanning flames to keep from being overlooked.
As we step into April this week, it feels more like the confusingest month.
April heralds spring, but often appears like a Match.com date gone wrong, spotted sitting in the coffee shop looking nothing like the sun-kissed object of our fantasies. We give her a wary nod, letting her story unfold.
As the snow melts, a misbegotten landscape emerges, mottled with lost mittens, crumpled plastic bottles, fast-food wrappers and that perennial favorite, the lone tennis shoe.
The remaining snowbanks are grotesque creatures, discolored and misshapen, too compressed to shovel, too abrasive for one last snowball fight. Given this winter’s late booking of Scars on Ice, the amount of sand drifted against the curbs could fill a kid’s sandbox. That bit of snow that’s taking forever to melt from the boulevard turns out to be road salt. The mud abides.
April’s grass is pale and matted. If you’re not wincing about what the dog has deposited all winter, then you’re worried about snow mold, splotches of a gray fungus that thrives when too much snow comes too soon. April never mentioned snow mold in her dating profile.
So we feel a bit, um, fooled.
But hey, spring is trending, so we dig into our closets, switching out the wool for cotton, the sweaters for T-shirts, the sweatpants for swimsu — uh-oh.
Is it any wonder that we’re confused? Even irked?
April also is when our taxes come due, and we grumble, even as we expect verdant parks, smooth highways and faucets that spill clean water. We know we’re being a bit unreasonable, but can’t shake the sense that April should feel more glorious.
Yet for all the harrumphing about being done with this place, Thanksgiving will find most of us roasting our turkeys in Minnesota.
Here’s why: One morning, those odd snatches of birdsong will merge into a chorus. Yellow-throated crocus will appear where you could swear there was only dirt the day before. April’s wand will begin to wave, drying the muck and swelling the buds.
The light will achieve that certain slant that promises more May than March, and in that light, we’ll see April as if for the first time. We’ll realize that while she may not be quite the looker we expected, she has a way about her that’s irresistible.