April is the Cruelest Month


A fresh falling of wet, heavy snow in April
A fresh falling of wet, heavy snow in April

“April is the cruelest month,” wrote poet T.S. Eliot, “breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire.”

Here in Minnesota, today is proof that April is indeed one cruel month. Last night, eight to twelve inches of heavy, wet snow walloped the Twin Cities area.

Shouldn’t winter be over? It is, after all, April 4! And it has been one long, brutal winter.

Since last November we’ve had temperatures and wind chills well below freezing and snow and ice that made travel—and even walking outside difficult. We Minnesotans say, “Enough!” We’re tired. We’re worn down.

Yet as T.S. Eliot says, April mixes memory and desire.  This is the month when the awakened earth stirs, mixing the memory of frozen winter and the desire for new life. We may want to leap immediately from the barrenness of winter into the splendor of summer, when all is green and rich and lush.

But there is struggle in this winter-to-spring transition, a hard, long, and messy scuffle. One day boasts of signs of spring; the next day clouds over, winds blow, and another winter snow storm is on the horizon.

And so here in Minnesota we wait for the struggle to resolve, for the dead, frozen fields of winter to thaw and for tulips and crocuses to crack open the crusty ground. Yes, we wait. When that day arrives I will open my heart and joyfully receive the gifts of warmer temperatures and sunny days.

I can hardly wait, but I will, and it won’t be long.  High in the upper forties tomorrow; melting to follow!

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