Tuesday, 3 April 2012

April Conflicts

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
~ T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland.

When I read The Wasteland back in January, I made it my mission not to use this quote in April. I was looking forward to spring, and didn't want April to be cruel in any way. But April, April is cruel.

It's quarter past eight here and still light. I love that. But here, the snow has fallen and clings to the new buds on the trees like blossom. The daffodils I was so happy to see lie flat in the garden now under two inches of snow. My baby budgie is sitting on the top bookshelf, puffed up to trap the warm air under his feathers. The coal fire is blazing downstairs, while the new lambs shiver under their mothers in the fields outside as the snow keeps on falling. 

Somehow, though, life keeps going. On the whole, life will continue to thrive despite this cold snap. Not everything will survive, but when I look at the baby lambs, I know nature is the least of their problems. Lambs are bitter-sweet. It's a beautiful thing, to see them playing in their field with each other, but in a few months the wagons will come. I'd say this, for me, is the hardest part of living in the country. 

Summer will come soon, without a doubt, and the leaves will come through, the flowers, the scented breezes, all the wonderful things I love about summer. The swifts, the swallows, everything will come alive. Even now life is coming through, having survived the winter, but cruelly tricked by the warm weather of last week. It won't all come through.

Looking out of the window, it's hard to believe it's April. It looks like Christmas outside. It's vaguely unsettling, last week, no, two days ago, I was standing on the lawn with no shoes or socks drinking coffee and looking at the buds. Now I'm by the heater next to Trotwood with two cardigans on.

As for reading: right now it's gloriously uncertain. I read the first book of Odyssey during the power cut, as well as The Gospel According to St. Matthew. I started Our Mutual Friend (what a beginning! Has anyone read it?), and also The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I have no interest in The Shadows of the Wind, but it remains next to my bed. I don't know what I'll be reading tonight, once more I have many books on the go after remaining faithful to chunkster after chunkster in March. I love this approach to reading. I like being conflicted, not knowing what to pick up. I also picked out Tales From Ovid by Ted Hughes, so perhaps I'll read that in bed. I don't know, and I love not knowing.

As I typed that the power went out again! It's dark, my laptop has limited power, so I'll cut this short. Need to get Trotwood into his cage and make some tea. For the record: I do love April. Very much. I'm so happy it's spring, but it will always be hard to see spring so naively, especially when living in the country.


  1. Meanwhile, here in my town it is just after 4pm and 85 degrees out. The magnolia trees are already past blossoming and the bushes have fat red roses on them. For me, summer is kind of skipping through spring. :)

    Beautiful post!

  2. Here the weather is as fine and warm as one could wish for, but I am experiencing the revelation that not all life comes through nonetheless, in a different way.
    Today 17 years ago my mum found out she was pregnant, with my older sister. Three months later the baby died.
    I have two brothers and one sister, so four out of five children are alive and healthy: that's not unusual, a good average in fact. It is as nature intended it to be, it is in balance and many couples would be happy about it, but that doesn't change the fact that one little girl did not come through.

  3. Cassandra - I get you. I had two sisters who died at birth. There's a balance, but damn, it's a cruel process to reach it. I'm sorry your mum went through that - I know what my mam went through, wouldn't wish it on anyone. If you think it's appropriate, tell her I'm thinking of her (and I truly am, I'm not just saying that because it's the right thing to say). I wonder, as I bet you do, what might have been and how different things would have been for me / us / mam / the world at large.

    Jillian - we had that weather just a few days ago :) Glad you're enjoying it! Are you ok with the tornadoes? Don't know how close you are and if you'll be at all affected.

  4. The tornadoes were VERY close (almost next door) a couple weeks ago. Right now they are passing too far from me to be seen outside my window. Still sunny and hot. I don't think they'll get close.

  5. I can see that I would be hard not to use that quote with the wintery weather you're having! We've had snow in the past in April, yet I still can't quite imagine it, April just seems too late. At least you have all those lovely books to choose from.

    Stay warm!

  6. Wow, you've managed to perfectly capture the bittersweet nature of spring.

    After weather in the 20s last week, we were meant to receive some Rocky Mountain spring snow. It seems to have confined itself to the peaks, but we've experienced sharp winds. Spring does seem to be the most fickle of the seasons.



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