Welcome to winter. Three or four inches of snow cover everything. Of course. It’s April in Winnipeg, so we’re not surprised. The German’s have a word for this fickleness of nature. Actually, a few words . . . it’s a poem.
I didn’t teach my kids German. I know, it’s a shame. But . . . I did teach them this poem and I think it should be mandatory for any Winnipeger.
April, April, kann machen was er will. Bald Regen und bald Sonnenschein, bald ist die Luft voll Schnee. (April, April, does want it wants. There’s rain and then sunshine, and then the air fills up with snow.) It’s by Heinrich Seidel from Mecklenburg (1842-1906). In German, there's a catchy cadence to it.
Seidel was an interesting fellow. During the day, as an engineer, he designed the roof of the Anhalter train station in Berlin. He was also a sort of guerilla gardener (if I understand that term correctly), scattering seeds he collected on various trips, throughout his hometown of Berlin. Theodor Storm was one of his critique partners, and Seidel’s most popular book Leberecht Hünchen, a light-hearted series released between 1880 and 1893, is still available today.
Seidel’s sense of humour and appreciation of nature comes through loud and clear in this simple April poem that any child, once they hear it, remembers for life (even my second-generation kids here in Canada).
Experiencing weather invites a sort of a universal language, wouldn’t you agree?