April, No Longer the Cruelest Month

Not so many years ago, when I still lived in Northern Virginia, we purchased a house in April. I remember driving through the new neighborhood in a nasty, chilling rain, looking for a hardware store. I remember that the day of the closing it was trying to snow. After we became the owners, we rushed to the house and began a massive cleaning effort in rooms so cold you could see your breath.

Mesquite bloomThis year, I live in the desert and April is perfect. Every day the sun beams in a vivid blue sky. Migrating birds move on through, giving us a glimpse and a transient blast of color and song. Then they move on. The mulberry trees are ripe with fruit in early April, and the mesquite trees are hung with fuzzy yellow fluff-balls that smell like honey.

T.S. Eliot, who wrote, “April is the cruelest month,” lived on the East Coast, where April is a chancy thing, filled with sunny Spring days that suddenly plunge back into Winter. The cherry blossoms, always a big draw in Washington, D.C. can get blasted from their branches by gusty winds. Camera-bearing visitors can get soaked by rains or soak their shirts from the high-humidity heat. And for heaven’s sake, stay away from the Tidal Basin unless you really like crowds. There are better places to see cherry blossoms.

People back East think that the desert has no Spring. How wrong they are. Desert Spring includes a flush of wild flowers, an incredible blooming frenzy in trees, cacti, shrubs and the magenta burst of bougainvillea so vivid it makes you blink. Blossoms scent the air and hummingbirds come back to zoom around and set up housekeeping. Spring also brings new leaves to pecan and almond trees, and the rich, heavy nightime perfume of orange and lemon blossoms.

I do miss the crocuses, but the happy, steady sunny weather makes the best of the best of Spring: Baseball’s Opening Day.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com
–Image: image03.webshots.com