It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s daisy.
It’s a roller-skating, scissor-grinding day;
It’s gingham-waisted, chocolate flavored, lazy,
With the children flower-scattered at their play.
So begins one of my favorite childhood poems: “April” by Marcia Masters.
As a farm kid growing up in northern Illinois, I longed for spring. Waiting for April’s arrival was like watching for a favorite aunt to come – it took forever for her to get there and the visit was over way too soon.
April gave indulgent permission to run outdoors with bare feet luxuriating in the feel of new spring grass between your toes. April produced from her deep pockets gifts of baby chicks in the coop and lambs birthing in the barn…swallows building their nests and dandelions pegging down a carpet of green.
It’s the sun like watermelon,
And the sidewalks overlaid
With a glaze of yellow yellow
Like a jar of marmalade.
One of my favorite memories from my college years was the awakening of spring on what we called “front campus” – the sprawling park-like lawn and gardens sloping away from Blanchard Hall, the iconic symbol of Wheaton College. The college gardeners used to plant daffodil bulbs spelling out “It’s Spring!”, and it never failed to make me laugh. After the interminable Illinois winter, we needed spring spelled out for us.
It’s the mower gently mowing,
And the stars like startled glass,
While the mower keeps on going
Through a waterfall of grass.
As a young mom raising babies, April told me that the fickle New England weather could no longer hold us hostage in the house. The sun warming his blonde curls, Adam would skip and spin two steps ahead while Amber and Jordan rode in the pram facing each other – our destination the playground, our time extravagantly our own. April gave us slides and swings and shadows lengthening beneath the maple trees.
Then the rich magenta evening
Like a sauce upon the walk,
And the porches softly swinging
With a hammockful of talk.
Now I’m a woman who has anticipated nearly six decades of April’s visits, and I’m no less anxious for her to arrive with her largesse. See there – the forsythia bush blushed yellow overnight! Did you notice the purple carpet of squill? Watch carefully – it will be taken up and gone by the tenth. And we have a prospective boarder checking out the birdhouse on the balcony – I hope she likes us!
It’s the hobo at the corner
With his lilac-sniffing gait,
And the shy departing thunder
Of the fast departing skate.
E-mail today delivered its quota of sorrowful news: a close friend’s brother is dying, a Facebook friend came home to a house devoid of husband, foreclosure threatens yet another friend. I grieve their losses, pray for them, and chafe again at a world that reads like a book with too many endings.
Yet April sticks in my consciousness like a green post-it note reminding me that winter has not won, that spring has indeed sprung, and that the renaissance of the world was the Creator’s idea after all.
Somewhere in New England the sap is running in the maple trees, and I swear I can smell the sweetness even from here.
It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s April!
A water sprinkler, puddle winking time,
When a boy who peddles slowly,
With a smile remote and holy,
Sells you April, chocolate flavored, for a dime.