When in April

Flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosaI suppose one of the charms of spring is its unsettled nature. That’s the most forgiving view.

Our expectation is, as Chaucer wrote in the Prologue to his Canterbury Tales,

Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour…

or, in more a recent English:

When April, with its sweet showers

Has pierced the dryness of March to the root

And bathed every vein in such moisture

That of its strength is brought forth the flower…

and so on, in a spring-happy manner.

It was pilgrimage season for Chaucer, meaning a fair season in which spring is in full rush. Winter with its storms and dark was over.

Here are his pilgrims setting out on the road, on a glorious day in April.

It’s still a bit cool, as you can see from their hoods and coifs, but they do not expect rotten weather, because it’s spring.

Spring! A season of light! Burgeoning flowers! Early daylight! Longer evenings! And some small dampness. After all, Aprille shoures bringen May floures.

This morning we woke to snow on the ground again. Deep into April, and it’s snowing. Hailing, too, if you want to put a fine point on it. A week ago the sun was shining over temperatures in the Fahrenheit 70’s.

Ah, well. How boring would it be to know the sun would sparkle every morning and the birds sing, tra-la!

Snow on the quince blossoms

Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 11:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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