In Colorado, spring truly springs in April. Flowers are starting to appear. We know the snow will surely return but after two early fires this year, we will not mind having the moisture.
April is special to me because it marks our daughter’s birth on a beautiful day after a deep wet snowfall. She was born on the same day as my grandmother who died before I turned one and whose absence always saddened me. On the afternoon of our daughter’s birth, her father reported that there were seven rainbows over the meadow when he drove home to feed the horses. We believed those seven rainbows announced the birth of a special person. Our little rainbow baby has grown into an elegant woman whose open heart and loving presence are true blessings—a reflection of the roots of the name of the month.
Origins of April
The English word “April” derives from the Latin name for the month, Aprilis. Some sources tie the name to the ancient Greek name for Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Other sources note that the word comes from the word for “opening” from the Latin aperire which means to open, and which reflects the reality of flowers, bushes, and trees budding at this time of year.
Symbols of April
April Fool’s Day took its name from the shift in the 16th century from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar when April lost its position and became the fourth month. Because the vernal equinox occurred at the end of March, the ensuing celebration continued into April. After the calendar change, individuals who continued to celebrate the beginning of April became known as “April Fools”. It became customary to play pranks on April first. In France, if you are not attentive, someone will stick a poisson d’avril (a handmade paper fish) on your back. In Scotland, friends send friends on fake errands called “hunting the gowk” (a symbol for fool). They may also pin a fake tail on a person’s behind, mirroring the French tradition. In the USA, any type of funny prank appears acceptable—today written pranks appear even on Twitter.
Most years, various holidays from Mideastern religions occur in April: Easter, Ramadan, and Passover. Each has its traditions and expectations. Showers, as the song goes, are also a symbol of April. They are known to “bring the flowers that bloom in May”.
April in Fiction
In Passing, a novel Nella Larsen wrote in the 1920s, the author uses the unseasonably warm April weather in December to elaborate and reflect the character’s internal state of mind and her sense of being out of control:
“Here the holidays were almost upon them, and the streets through which she had come were streaked with rills of muddy water and the sun shone so warmly that children had taken off their hats and scarfs. It was all as soft, as like April, as possible. The kind of weather for Easter. Certainly not for Christmas. Though, she admitted, reluctantly, she herself didn’t feel the proper Christmas spirit this year, either. But that couldn’t be helped, it seemed, any more than the weather.” (Chapter 1, p. 94)
Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her poem “Spring”, contrasts the beauty and promise of April with her disappointments in life and the shock of death. The poem’s first and second lines read: “To what purpose, April, do you return again? / Beauty is not enough.” After stating in the 14th and 15th lines: “Life in itself / Is nothing,” she ends with “It is not enough that yearly, down this hill, / April / Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”
Writing Goals for 2022
Publish my second book of poetry:
This month I accomplished more revisions and read four poems aloud for one of my women’s groups.
Finish, request feedback, and send my first novel out for review:
This month, I compared what I have been writing about the seventies with a current novel that addresses the same period.
Continue to work on my other novels:
I prepared the text that I will present for the critique group which begins this month.
Continue to develop a network of kindred spirits in the world of writing and publishing:
Boulder Writers Alliance: As president, I organized our new BWA Poetry Circle, facilitated the first session, and prepared a workshop on Professional Development for Writers to present in April.
Denver Women’s Press Club: I read the newsletter.
Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers: I read the newsletter.
Women Writing the West: Critique groups are beginning to form. One fits my schedule. The planning session takes place next week.
Crestone Poetry Festival: I followed up with poets from the group. To my delight, they offered to help me with the BWA Poetry Circle.
Document my writing progress through my blog and post it on the seventh day of each month, one blog per month in 2022:
Today is April 7, 2022, I am posting my fourth blog of 2022. On the first day of spring, March 20, it snowed. Then, on March 26, we had another fire in the foothills nearby and had to evacuate again for a day. To say the least, it was disorienting to have to pack up the car and scram in less than an hour. Fortunately, we had a place to land. Now I have written two “fire” poems.
April 7th in history: William Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770.