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April Almanac 2021 – O.Henry Magazine

April Almanac 2021

April is the earliest fawn, dewy eyed and trembling, landing in a world so soft and tender you can barely remember the deep silence, the bleak landscape, the icy ache of winter.

The nectar of spring flows steady as milk from the mother. It is the wet kiss from doe to teetering fawn. It is here, now. And it is delectable.

Like the fawn, we’ve awakened to a warm and gracious Earth that simply gives.

A tabernacle of peepers sings out.

In the garden, thin spears of asparagus rise like tiny prayers to the sun, young turnips humming songs of the cool soil. Cottontail rabbit grows plump.

Purple martins chatter inside birdhouse gourds and everywhere — everywhere you look — edible flowers bloom.

Rosy pink redbud bursting from bare-branched limbs. Violet and clover spilling across lawns. Forsythia and dandelion mushroom like palatable sunshine. 

Even wisteria — sweet, aromatic miracle — twists around fences, buildings and treetops like ruche fringe, a garden party for this tender new world.

The trees are leafing out. There is pollen for the wasps, the beetles, the bees. And, do you hear that?

The chorus frogs have reached a crescendo, their many squeaking voices one.

The canticle of spring is growing stronger. Whitetail baby mews along.

 

I will be the gladdest thing

Under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers

And not pick one.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Canticle of the Sun and Moon(flowers) 

Now that we’ve made it past the last frost, bring on the summer bulbs: gladioli (sword lily), flamboyant cannas, caladium (aka, heart of Jesus, angel wings, elephant ears).

Sew the first of the sunflowers.

And — at the end of the month — moonflowers.

Although they look like morning glories, which open at the earliest touch of light, moonflowers blossom beneath the stars — each ephemeral bloom lasting just one night. Kissed by the light of a near-full moon, the fragrant white flowers are nothing short of enchanting. Create your very own Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus or minus a mischievous garden sprite or two.

Poetry Month

What is a flower but a poem?
Same of a tree, a nest, an egg.

Of course April is National Poetry Month. Look around. Birds weaving tapestries of needles and grasses. Spring tulips. Dogwoods like angelic flashes of white in naked woods. And, three words: violet blossom jelly.

Harvest wild ones in the morning. Three heaping handfuls. Place them in a pretty bowl.

Add boiling water. Stir, then keep covered for one rotation of the Earth.

Tomorrow, strain the liquid — deep and dark and blue. Add lemon juice; boil. Add cane sugar and pectin; boil and behold: wild fuchsia magic.

Just add toast.

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