The Cruelest Month
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
– T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
April. A cruel month. Too full of the pulsating flow of life in all its forms. Crammed like a rush hour subway ride, full of deadlines and goodbyes and group projects from the depths of hell.
I am tired, but aren't we all?
I've been thinking of T.S. Eliot's words for a while now, since the day the irises bloomed in my front yard, since the night I stepped into Half Price Books for the first time and picked up a small book of poetry and remembered when I first encountered these words last spring.
I can hear it like it was yesterday, I can feel it blow through my thoughts like the Abilene wind. Over and over, my professor's reading voice swirls in his low and earthy British tone:
"APRIL IS THE CRUELEST MONTH"
It goes against what we instinctively think, doesn't it? April showers bring May flowers, spring is coming, summer is one day nearer. It should be anything but cruel. It should be budding trees and sunny skies.
Yet as April's 30 days are crossed off the calendar, I feel less of the new life of spring and more of the fading fumes of a human engine that's been in drive for too long. There is only so much fuel a double-shot of espresso can inject into a weary frame.
Breeding Lilacs out of the dead land
April, a stirring of spring amidst the remains of a winter. April, a flower one day blooming after feeling dry and pressed between pages of newspapers and textbooks for months.
But there is life in our veins still.
I look back from last April to today and see seasons of struggle and triumph of a little uprooted lilac. She was replanted in hot soil and fought through the droughts and the winter to tap into the source that makes her truly bloom.
Some might call it metamorphosis, I just call it growing up.
Mixing Memory and desire
April reminds me of England and April in England is a really wonderful thing. Memories and desire mix together, leaving me with that empty longing for a spring breeze cool enough to require a jacket and long walk that leaves my feet aching.
stirring Dull roots with spring rain
It rained more this month than it had in a while. Thunder grumbled like an empty stomach, lightning flashed like my camera, heaven turned on its shower head and clouds hung like curtains over the sun.
And I finally felt like I was content to grow in this ground. April, in its cruelty and overbooked schedules and yeses to too many things, washed away the dull roots in spring rain.
April is the cruelest month, April makes fools of us all.