SAY it many times. Say it slowly. Say April, April, April and you will find as Hal Borland did in ''Hill Country Harvest'' that ''the word April has a warm, green sound to it.''
April, the bridge of winter that takes us into spring: the erratic month of changeable weather and temperatures. Robert Frost said, ''You know how it is with an April day.'' It is the month of quotable quotes, of poets, of looking ahead while trying to shrug off the clinging hand of winter tugging at your shoulder. It is Wordsworth and his ''host of golden daffodils,'' and Browning, homesick in Italy, who longed ''to be in England now that April's there.''
There is reason to honor April. It comes to us as a long-anticipated gift of birdsong, crocus, daffodil, and budding tree. It means the sound of peepers on a warm night, violets in the woods, singing brooks freed from the silencing cover of resisting ice, chipmunks awake and dashing in the sun, dew shining like jewels on the grass, the bluest of skies with wisps of clouds, softness and warmth in the air, trillium in darkest red and dazzling white, puddles after a shower, roofs that steam while drying in the sun, the building of nests, and, best of all, the return of the liquid notes of the hermit thrush.
When April comes to us from blustery March, we know that spring is on the threshold, needing only warm breezes amid a chorus of welcomes to make it step into our open arms. Gently, but thoroughly, it melts snow, cleans winter's grime by scattering showers over buildings and roads and fields and, with deftness, places bouquets of flowers here, there, and everywhere to brighten our hearts. The soft shine of April puts to shame the dullness of turbulent March.
One of the nicest things about April and the promises it brings is the knowledge that man has nothing to do with it. No ''factory produced'' label is attached. It is not affected by business cycles, strikes, or absenteeism. It is the beginning of a period of growth in productivity over which human beings, in their bungling, profit-conscious manner, have no control. Leaves unfurl and grasses grow without the aid of a computer button. Whether convenient to us or not, rains will come, grass will need cutting, flowers will be ready to pick. April does not need a 12-month calendar, the return of daylight saving time, or the appearance of seed packets on store shelves. If mankind were swept from the earth, all the joys of April would return each year at their appointed time.
Listen carefully and you can hear April. When the snows were deep on the frozen pastures, drifted around houses and sheds, pushed into great windrows along the sides of the roads, and layered inches thick on trees and bushes, all sounds were muted. Now, streams speak to us, dry leaves rustle in the breeze, rain splashes and bounces on the pavement, bees buzz, peepers peep, the whitethroat sings, and the silent world of a month ago is alive and vibrant with awakened voices. As spring moves north, even the wind sounds different pushing through the growing leaves. The night, with its stars that draw us into the depths of a springtime sky, brings us the faint movement of raccoon and rabbit, the far-off hoot of an owl, the frog's bass grunt, and the sound of a lonely dog barking at the moon.
In April, the shadows of the trees no longer stand stiffly as they did each bright winter's day and moonlit night. New growth brings substance and soft shapes, giving grace and gentle movement as the wind rustles the leaves or, in strong and sudden gusts, sways branches of tree and shrub.
April gives the example we need of rebirth happening right before our eyes.