April

April is not my favorite month. Although in the four years since I moved to Virginia, it’s moving up the list.

For my first 37-some years, I lived in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts: states where April did not truly yield spring weather until it was practically May. In Massachusetts especially, April was just as likely to produce a day of 38-degree drizzle as it was 63-degree sunshine. That’s not the case in Virginia. Here, on only the first day of the month, we were treated to a lovely 65 degrees. I look forward to what the next few weeks will bring.

April is a metaphor. Springtime. New beginnings. Stuff like that. For baseball fans, it is the annual rite of unbridled optimism.

April is when I became a father. And while the occasion was unexpected (Ben and Nora weren’t due until June), and while the early arrivals of my children led to countless hours in the unpleasant environment of the NICU, and while all of this led inevitably to Ben’s death a scant 31 days later, I cannot keep from smiling at that initial memory. At that wave of emotion the first time I put eyes on my son, the first time my daughter opened her eyes.

April is planting seeds in the little starter pots purchased at Lowe’s, watching Nora try to fit the little trowel from her gardening kit into a seed pot that’s maybe one or two inches in diameter. April is tilling the garden, pulling winter’s overgrowth, shoveling compost, and transplanting the sprouts after they’ve germinated. That my tomato crop tends to feed the local deer more than it feeds my family is not a concern in April.  In April, in my head, we are just a few months away from a bountiful harvest, from Carolyn making and storing jar upon jar of roasted marinara, from fresh salsa (assuming the peppers and onions grow), from caprese salad appetizers two or three nights a week (assuming the basil doesn’t get dug up by the dog or some other critter). Oh, well. As Rick once told Ilsa: “We’ll always have cucumbers.”

April is the Independent Film Festival Boston, still going strong — stronger than ever — four years after my last direct involvement. Two of the last four Aprils, that has meant a return trip to Boston, to see movies and friends. We’re still up in the air over our ability to make the trip this year. But whether I’m there or not, the news of opening night and its annual success always reaches me, always leaves me feeling happy.

April is promising myself this year I’ll get back out on the golf course at some point this summer (last round of golf played: July 28, 2007). This year I’ll dig out those rotted landscaping timbers near the shed in the back yard. This year I’ll get the lawn re-seeded. This year, I’ll repair the cracks in the driveway.

No, no, no, and no. And besides, if I did all (or any) of those things, what would I have to promise myself next year? What would I have to look forward to? No, let me be content to simply make those promises, and leave the keeping of them for another April.

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