April’s Gift


April arrives on the cold heels of March, with brown leaves blown all over the yard, a few snowdrops here and there, but mostly, a barren beginning to this most special of months.  Brown is everywhere, from the stalks left over from last years’ gardens, to the mud-covered grass, to the barren tree limbs.  It is a dismal sight.  There is work to be done — raking dead leaves, piling broken tree limbs by the roadside, pulling up the stalks that were beautiful flowers last summer.  April means hard physical work in weather that is often still more like winter than spring.  It is a tiring job, as the winds blow and the sunshine lacks warmth.

April showers are seldom gentle — usually, they are cold rains, but they do serve a purpose — they wash the mud from the tiny new plants that are beginning to peek through the earth.  There are firsts to celebrate — the first snowdrops, the first crocus, the first daffodil leaves, the yellow forsythia blossoms.  Still, much of the yard is more brown than green, and waking up to an inch or two of snow is not uncommon.  However, April is a month of hope and of faith.  We know in our hearts that spring is about to arrive.

This year, due to a pandemic of worldwide proportions, most of us are confined to our homes, and missing the fellowship of friends and loved ones, the Easter and Passover celebrations, the birthday parties, and the ability to travel here and there at will.  We are housebound.  Our lives have changed drastically, and the adjustment is difficult.  However, those of us who love our homes and our gardens are fortunate, for the changes that surround us in April are food for the soul.

The weather is cool on this day in late April — we really haven’t had many warm days this month.  However, the birds are busy scurrying to and fro, from the bird feeders to the tree branches to their birdhouses to the ivy in the back yard.  Soon there will be eggs to tend and then baby birds to feed.  The grass has turned to green, the trees have buds and tiny leaves, the daffodils blow in the breeze and the pretty blue and pink hyacinths are lovely.

My back yard is a peaceful one, with shade from a beautiful old maple tree, a tiny pond, a garden with beautiful bleeding hearts just about to bloom, lovely ground cover, lilies of the valley peeking through, and Solomon’s Seal finally coming up after much of it was accidentally destroyed a couple of years ago.  And, finally, between the grass and the moss, in this old yard of mine, our April carpet is green.  It showered all morning — in fact, much of the week — and the moisture has helped turn the brown to green.  

Soon it will be time to plant the annuals — although, with this pandemic keeping us at home, I’m not certain how quickly I will be able to buy the plants.  Somehow, I will manage, because even though my garden has many perennials, it needs the addition of the beautifully colored annuals to make it complete.  I will worry about that another day.  For now, I will relax with a good book this afternoon, and take a late afternoon walk through the yard, looking for the little forget-me-nots which are just beginning to pop up, and savoring the lovely green of April — marking the beginning of the growing season here in my sweet old garden.