But someone else has already shown up whose arrival makes me shout for joy every year.
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 Lee 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 here and the visit was over way too soon.
April gives indulgent permission to run outdoors with bare feet luxuriating in the feel of the new spring grass between your toes. April produces from her deep pockets gifts of baby chicks in the coop and lambs birthing in the barn. Swallows building their nests and dandelions pegging 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 college memories 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 would plant daffodil bulbs spelling out “It’s Spring!”, which never failed to make me laugh. After the interminable Midwest 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 facing each other in the pram. 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 over six decades of April’s visits, yet I’m no less anxious for her to arrive with her gifts. See there – the forsythia has blushed yellow overnight. Did you notice the purple carpet of squill? Prospective boarders are checking out the birdhouse on the balcony….I hope they like us.
Email today delivered its quota of sorrowful news: a close friend sustained a painful injury, others have children in crisis, a third is wrestling with the reality of cognitive impairment in her spouse. I stop to pray for these loved ones and chafe again at a world that reads like a book with too many endings.
Yet April sticks in my consciousness like a green sticky note reminding me winter has not won and spring has indeed sprung.
The renaissance of the world was the Creator’s idea after all.
Somewhere in New England the sap is running in the maple trees. 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.
What do you love most about the arrival of spring?
Leave a comment, please. I’d love to hear your thoughts!