APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
When we studied this text in high-school, our teacher explained to us how the first line was designed to feel “wrong”, to contrast our expectations of the word “April” with the choice of another, “cruel”. My class-mates talked about how that made no sense, how its purpose was to be merely “contrary”. But I, at 13, felt the truth of these words. My cat had been hit by a car (she was the replacement for a cat that had died only a few months prior) and I was, we found out later, very anemic due to an undiagnosed condition. The death of my cat had hit me hard– very hard–and I was depressed for months. As spring came, it only reminded me of how I felt so separate from the world. There was life outside and joy, things blooming, growing, being born, but I could not join them– though I felt I should. Feeling that I should, but could not, made the life outside feel cruel: others were advancing joyfully into the spring, leaving me alone in my grief.
But today, as the temperature practically soars into the 70’s for the first time since winter hit, I feel a deep welling of happiness. It is almost unconscious and instinctive: I barely thought about the weather all day, but I have been humming, and happy, and completely connected to the rebirth taking place outside. As afternoon hit I realized that if I was going to work till 7 and then head directly out to go running, I would need a snack. The vending machine, that has been my companion on winter afternoons, was no longer attractive in the light of spring. Fruit vendors will once again be my afternoon friends. As I walked out of campus, I noticed patches of crocuses blooming in colorful tufts amongst the ground cover. They were all over our small campus, their purples and whites pushing out of the newly moistened soil, and as I headed off in search of mangos, I joyfully joined them in their spring emergence.