Whoa, April. Before You May, You March.
Her cruelty to the cherry blossoms aside, April doesn’t mean to be mean. She’s simply volatile. One columnist described her as “adolescent,” and that’s about right. One day she has you pulling out your sandals and the next, you’re searching for that box of winter hats.
Snow? Now?! Remember it’s April, who possesses what Shakespeare referred to as an “uncertain glory.” April was once 15 degrees here in Washington and another time she was 95. She doesn’t know what she wants to be.
April is prankish. She is the first flash of bare legs, which disappear quickly when the weather turns — a striptease. She is a sexy month, with sunlight on faces and romance in the air, April in Paris and all that. We feel like we should fall in love in April, especially when we don’t. Guys step out to lunch in just shirts and ties and we find ourselves . . . looking.
(It’s that fertility thing. Something hardwired. There’s even a porn star named April Flowers — isn’t that fitting?)
Things bloom in April: flower buds, bad colds. “Breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire . . .” is how T.S. Eliot put it in “The Waste Land.” Pollen begins its oppressive regime. We journey to visit family for Easter, or scrap the whole thing and head south, where things are more reliably warm. April is when the pilgrims in “The Canterbury Tales” hit the road. April is when Paul Revere began his midnight ride. She is a month of beginnings.
And she is a month of endings. Funny thing, only not at all funny: Late spring and early summer have the most suicides. The rate rises through March and April and things get really bad in May. There are lots of theories about why, though no one really knows for sure. A psychiatrist named Herbert Hendin suggests depressed people may feel all the more depressed when they witness the warm-weather joy of others.
Here’s how the old song goes: “Now it’s April. Love is just a ghost . . . Spring can really hang you up the most.”
What a confused month. Robert Frost wrote that she can be both March and May: “You know how it is with an April day.”
Poor April! So unsure of herself, so swayed by the winds, so young. Maybe she needs better self-esteem. Maybe she’s spending too much time looking for a boyfriend. (You know, honey, a man won’t solve any of your problems. He’ll just add to ’em.)
— Libby Copeland