April Is Evidence

CAN it be? And is it for real?

No, we aren't asking about the president's stimulus package, or aid to Boris Yeltsin. We're musing about a subject somewhat older - the spring and its possible arrival. Normally (at least at our latitude) this would be a late May topic. Then the breeze billows on the skin like warm satin, and there's no question about it. After all, April is the cruelest month, as T. S. Eliot noted, mixing memory and desire with little clarity. It is a transitional month of ups and downs - called contentious, but offerin g promise.

After an especially brutal winter, however, with record February lows and forever-coming snows in March, it is time to put the foot down: "Enough!" On Tuesday the temperature reached 50 degrees, and the sun has been out two days. Time to declare a victory! Winter is a season for the mind. But metaphorically, spring is a season for the soul; and it is time to look for that restoration and renewal. It is time to think about sitting outside and reading Gerard Manley Hopkins "The Windhover" and pondering the

vision: "I caught this morning morning's minion, king/dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding/ Of the rolling level underneath him steady air."

Never mind that April is tax month. Or that the grass buildup on the bottom of the lawnmower we didn't tend to late last October still needs scraping.

What April can offer is evidence. Only days ago we faced a dense sea of frozen white, an ugly gray shivering commute. It was so bad the postman wouldn't deliver some mornings. Blocks of impenetrable ice covered the walks, the rose bushes, the earth. Yet how quickly it can and will be otherwise. Images of rebirth, especially in a media-driven society, often seem hackneyed. But when overnight the banal sea of ice melts and our faces soften and the earth changes - rebirth seems palpable.

As William Carlos Williams describes in "Spring and All," "Now the grass, tomorrow/ the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaves." One by one, objects are defined in a quickening clarity: "But now, the stark dignity of/ entrance - Still, the profound change/ has come upon them: rooted, they/ grip down and begin to awaken." So may we all.

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