April is the cruelest month, breedingLilacs out of the dead land, mixingMemory and desire, stirringDull roots with spring rain.T. S. Elliot – The Waste Land
Always Marry An April Girl
by Ogden Nash
Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true —
I love April, I love you.
The April fool’s joke in Minneapolis this year was 3 inches of snow on March 31. This past week has been 15 to 20 degrees F below normal for highs and though its Easter Sunday there is not yet a glimpse of Spring, other than the shivering Robins who are wondering what the heck is going on. Snow suits for Easter Morning is something hearty Minnesotans have dealt with before so it shouldn’t keep us from enjoying a devilled egg or two at brunch today.
One of the true gems of St. Paul is the Como Conservatory. Beautifully restored in the past 10 years, it is a treasure, completely free to the public. It is one of my favorite places to visit in March, when the yearning for green and growing things is frustrated by the drab grey and brown of the end of Minnesota winters. The Conservatory is a respite of the dregs of winter and an infusion of smells and colors that won’t be seen in our gardens for another 60 days.
The Conservatory is one of those places for which I have a long association and so many memories that they collide into one abiding sense of place that is part of where I call home. I have visited it at least once a year, every year I have lived in the Twin Cities and most years I lived hours away. I love its timeless quality, with trees and plants that are older than I am, which bid me welcome each visit, with stirrings of the awe I felt as a child going there with my parents and with my children. It is a perfect blend of botany and art and people, a melting pot of all who live in St. Paul. I enjoy the people watching as much as I enjoy revisiting the multiple wings of the conservatory, each with plants, water gardens, bright colored koi and elegant bronze statuary, that all feel like welcoming old friends. It does my heart good, to watch families with little children, creating their own memories of this wonderful place.
The history of the sonnet and Christianity is deep and complex. One could argue that Easter Sunday is a perfect time to reflect and explore that connection, particularly since it was an attempt to put to paper what I believe and why that started my writing poetry 5 springs ago in the first place. It is for that very reason, that I am choosing to keep things a bit more light-hearted and secular on this holiest of Christian holidays. I haven’t figured out quite how to come at that topic and have it strike the right cord. And so, I’ll ease into it another time, when the stakes don’t feel quite so high, on the expectations of resurrection and I’ll let the resurrection of spring daffodils suffice instead.
I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud
By William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.