Twenty years ago, I purchased a book of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay to give to Joe on one of our first dates. I am fond of her work and wanted to share her genius. The inside joke with us now, twenty years later, is that he faked me out and pretended to read and enjoy the book back then. I have since learned garden and landscape books are the only books to be gifted to him.
Edna, a treasure in her lifetime, seems all but a forgotten footnote in the American literary culture today. I sat down to write this month’s email and was reminded of her poem on spring. Her melancholy take on April could not be a more polar opposite from mine. While rereading the poem, I also giggled. Now knowing Joe very well, my attempts at sharing my affinity for her work then was like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree. I am grateful that we share so many varied passions and likes, making our relationship much deeper and interesting. He’s not into books and I HATE road trips. What a match made in heaven!
In her poem titled “Spring,” Edna St. Vincent Millay has wrapped her words in sadness. I wish I could have asked her why. Spring at a cellular level evokes hope, and April the gateway to renewal. April certainly comes in babbling with rain, but even in my deepest post-winter lows I would never say: “April, comes in like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” She most certainly is not “an empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.” Oh, Edna how I want to know how April has wronged you.
April is the twin to May, the one that works the southern winds to their nth degree, squeezing warmth into our northern environs. She is that boisterous twin that leads the younger month of May to the glories of rebirth. If one quietly listens with intent, tapping into the rhythms of the season, it is easy to hear the exalted songs of our feathered friends who have already realized the cheer of the fecundity to come.
Welcome dearest April, I lay at your altar of promise and anticipate the day you touch the cheek of your sister, May. Only then can we fully embrace the season of the sun and the smiles of flowers bursting forth. Until that day, I am ready to dance and sing in the rains that celebrate April life.
What does April bring to fleurdetroit? The team has been busy, as the most industrious beaver clan, building out new displays, reconfiguring the landscaped courtyards and planning for the new season.
The eagerness of spring is electric, and the hum is as loud as our feathered friends’ song lauding April’s arrival. Our human interpretation of this age-old song is unfolding at fleurdetroit and we welcome all to join the chorus. Welcome to spring!