April Fool

Patti Smith – April Fool

This past week was pretty busy followed by a weekend full of activities. Now here it is April 1st. I am so ready for it to be April, for spring to finally get going full strength, but it’s been such a long winter that I almost feel unprepared. I need to schedule summer camp for the kids but I still don’t know what the last day of school will be because of all the missed days from hurricanes and blizzards. That kind of unprepared. I am always ready for winter to be over. Before it even starts.

I didn’t really care much one way or the other about spring until I learned what passes for spring in Maine. I’ll never forget our German teacher explaining to a classroom full of kids how, in Austria and Germany, it gradually gets warmer in March and little flowers start popping up and then more in April and everything gets green again. He was kind of a character, this old man from an Austrian skiing village, so I figured he was trying to be funny to get us to remember the words for the season. Then I looked around and saw a number of kids listening as if they hadn’t ever heard of spring before. That first winter in Maine was a pretty harsh one, not just by our weak and untested New York standards, and I remember it snowed into April that year.

My primary goal in applying to college was to get as far south as seemed reasonably possible. I applied to only two schools north of the Mason-Dixon line. I hadn’t given much thought to the type of schools (mostly the big state universities) or to my chances of getting in, I just didn’t want any more snow in April. In the end I wound up outside Philadelphia, which wasn’t south by any stretch, but the seasons did at least arrive when the calendar said they should and you could easily get by without real winter gear. Biking was possible pretty much year round.

But I really came to appreciate spring when I lived in Washington D.C. Unless you are an allergy sufferer, you should try to see DC in the spring. It really is beautiful. I was thrilled to discover daffodils in February, and once all those flowering trees get going, it’s a riot of color everywhere you look. The cherry blossoms really are lovely down around the Tidal Basin but there are lots of less crowded places I loved to walk around; Rock Creek Park, Dumbarton Oaks, the C&O Canal, and Mount Vernon over in VA.

I’ll always love summer the most but thanks to those years in DC, I’m a fool for April.