About April

My backyard in April

T.S. Eliot, in The Wasteland, called April the cruelest month and I’d have to agree. It’s a month of transition and even change for the better is difficult. Stronger sunlight battles brisker winds. Snow turns to puddles, which return to ice before grudgingly retreating back to puddles, which shrink ever so slowly. Skinny, naked branches thicken with buds and eventually green sprouts emerge in even the shadiest spots. 

April was a cruel month in Europe, back in 1945. Sifting through old magazines I’ve collected over the years, I’m reminded of Nazi atrocities. That April, the Allies were like a spring sun bringing warm winds and exposing Nazi crimes of unbelievable proportions. Charred bodies, ditches filled with corpses, stick-like survivors. Images befitting the cruel month of April. Hitler belongs to April, too. Born April 20, 1889, he shot himself on April 30, 1945. 

Gardelegen Massacre in April, 1945:  CC  Max Stuck

So April is a month of endings, of beginnings, of transition. Ugly, cruel and yet hopeful. I’ll take it one day at a time.

And if this sounds too depressing, I also have fond memories of this month. Of anniversaries, of birthdays and of unexpectedly warm, summer-like days. My favorite April moment: finding pussy willows ... so tenacious, soft and brave. 

April … cruel to be kind?  A lyric from a modern poet. Thanks, Nick Lowe.  Let’s hope the cruelest month will finally be kind to us all. 

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