Compared to other months of the year, April is erratic when it comes to weather.
It’s not that the rest of the months don’t produce variable atmospheric conditions. They do, just not as consistently as April’s predictably unpredictable weather.
Our latest 10-day forecast was proof of that: Sunny, blue skies and 70-degree temperatures one day, and low 20s and snow flurries by week’s end. I’ll keep my birdbath heater going for a while.
That conjecture accurately describes April’s extremes. April uses her versatile weather wand to divulge her bipolar meteorological attributes.
In 30 days, the fourth month throws everything it has at us. Snow, sleet, glorious sunshine, pelting rain, lightning, tornadoes, flooding streams all are April possibilities, though not certainties.
Often the host for both Easter and Passover, April’s assortment of weather takes no holidays. Recall the twin tornadoes of Palm Sunday in April 1965? Do you remember the 20 inches of snow in early April three decades ago?
When April arrives, we all are more than ready for spring. That is especially true after this extended winter season that ranged far beyond its usual territory.
April’s weather plays games with us, teases us, infuriates us, and beguiles us to the point of hopelessness. Nearly at the breaking point, we relent and grudgingly accept whatever she has to offer. Do we have a choice?
A conciliatory attitude allows us to engage all of our senses into whatever the weather and activities are at hand. It enables us to pause long enough to enjoy the brilliance of forsythia’s yellows before the greening leaves override them.
I watched an American robin mightily tug at the remnants of last year’s plant residue, lying spent and browned in the flowerbed from winter’s bitter harshness. The robin pulled the lifeless strands taut.
I turned away for a second, looked back, and both the robin and the ideal nesting material were gone. Had I witnessed the natural lifecycle in action, the very hope of spring?
The increasing daylight combines with the warming earth and nourishing moistures to create rapidly changing landscapes. Rembrandt meets Van Gogh.
Deadened lawns seemingly turn dull green to emerald overnight. A heavy frost or soaking rain kills the temptation to even out the irregular grassy clumps posing as a front yard. First, however, winter’s gales and unwelcomed snows require leaf and limb removal before any lawn trimming.
The first dandelions compete with trumpeting daffodils while the last of the crocuses yield to showy tulips. Honeybees celebrate wildly at the cherry blossoms’ coming out parties. They even gorged on the crimson buds of red maples. The little creatures are a welcome sight and the constant humming a glorious symphony, especially given their recent biological life struggles.
Avid birders actually embrace April’s changeable weather. They know strong cold fronts bring more than severe storms or blinding snow squalls. Shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey are all on their various lists of birds to check off. They’ll brave April’s worst weather to chase a rare bird.
The good news is that April’s cold, wet weather won’t last long. That’s in keeping with its role as a transition month from winter’s dormant dullness to spring’s brimming vibrancy.
I’m always glad when April rolls around. From month’s beginning to end, she offers up a sampling of weather that’s sure to both please and disappoint most everyone. The challenge is to make the most of whatever comes our way.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2019