Whoa, April. Be­fore You May, You March.

The Washington Post Sunday - - Style -

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

BY MARTHA WRIGHT — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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