April starts in an odd way – it’s April Fools’ Day. That seems to be a day that reveals
people. For instance I happen to know of one particular institution where a senior
member did ‘an April fool’ on the rest of the employees. Some found it hilarious
and others tutted that such a person should waste their time with such frivolities!
Traditionally the time for playing tricks on others only lasts until noon. No one
seems very clear about the origins of it but some suggest that Chaucer was one of
the first to make note of it in his Canterbury Tales. Being made to do the Prologue
at School, I am still of the opinion that teachers were playing an on going ‘April
Fool’ on us. Sorry I don’t care what intellectuals say; it’s got to be a joke making
fourteen year old boys unpack Olde English!
The first Sunday of April is, I am told, called Daffodil Sunday. Apparently people
in Victorian times picked their daffodils on this Sunday and took them to hospitals
to give to the sick.
The 23rd April is St. George’s Day, a day of celebrating the famous English patron
Sometime in this month will appear Easter with the key days being Maundy Thursday,
Good Friday (the day of Christ’s death) and Easter Sunday (the day of Christ’s resurrection.)
April is also known for its showers.
One way or another April is a month full of significant dates and possibly for some,
it’s most significant feature is that it is the start of the new financial year!
I don’t know what set me off down the path of significant dates. I suppose it was
that earlier in the month I was pondering on April Fools’ Day and Easter and Googled
these dates. What I then stumbled on was a table of all the dates of the year, and
whatever number you click on gives you a page for that day showing anniversaries,
people who were born on that day, people who died on that day, and significant things
that happened on that day. For instance you could work your way through April and
do this for every single day. Who said a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! You
could wile away most of your life looking up this sort of stuff!
Meanwhile the world goes on around you and the real issues of the seasons proceed
unabated. April is a month when it all starts to happen in the garden; there’s a
lot more to come but it has started to happen in a real way. Bulbs are pushing up,
buds are appearing and the hope of new life is definitely here and early blossom
has arrived. It’s a month where nature is saying, watch out world, I’m on the move!
When showers do come (but of course they haven’t this year! ) it’s a real sign
that Winter is in the past. Showers and snow don’t go together. April is a month
of optimism; it’s getting better.
Of course this isn’t true in other parts of the world. In some parts of the world
they hardly experience seasons. Sunshine and rain are daily experiences of some places
in the tropics. The other thing of course is that the seasons come, when they do
come, at different times and at different paces in different places in the world.
As I write these seasonal pages (on a fortnightly basis) I become more and more aware
how much we take for granted the changing seasons. Can I encourage you to watch the
changes and see this changing scenario as something that, in the midst of what sometimes
can be a tough world, can be a source of real pleasure. Enjoy the season; watch the
wonders that are unfolding before you. If you have birds in the garden, watch them
pairing off and collecting materials to build nests.
So, let’s not worry about all the things that have happened in history on this day,
let’s enjoy the day by watching the changes taking place all around us. Enjoy the
Now I confess not to be excited normally about ‘Mother Earth’ concepts, but I can
see the sense enshrined on one of the United Nations pages that declares:
“The proclamation of 22 April as International Mother Earth Day is an acknowledgement
that the Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance.
It also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration,
to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the
economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.”
I think I understand that and I think it’s in harmony with my ongoing encouragements
to appreciate the seasons and this wonderful world on which we live.
But if you want to be a bit more formal about April, it also includes the Queen’s
birthday (21st and Shakespeare’s birthday (23rd)
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