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.
I’m not sure about cruelest month. But it is an unsettled month here in my region of the Midwest, where the weather careens wildly about, soaring into sunlight and the 70s on one day, plunging into the 30s and frost on the next. Impatience swells, and Midwesterners take any excuse to break out sun-dresses, shorts, and flip-flops. Joggers and bikers start crowding the sides of the roads, even as I am still shivering in my fleece jacket (Despite the alluring sunlight, it is still NOT shorts-weather to me!) The first tight buds appear on bare branches; the dry lawn suddenly unfurls itself in lush green. To step outside is to be pelted with a riot of birdsong.
But the season is still unsettled; memory and desire are mixed. We fidget restlessly, longing for full-blown summer, warmth and swimming pools, beach days and melting ice cream in the park. The first tulips are starting to open. The spring light is brilliantly clear. And there is a feeling of fragility in this moment, an aching sense of the briefness of the spring. The air is cool, and the new mist of green in the trees seems almost unbearably tender.