On the morning when we “spring ahead” by adjusting our clocks forward one hour and implement Daily Savings Time, we’re dealing with snow and 30-degree temperatures in Columbus. Is spring truly ahead? The buses and cars rolling down the street are snow-topped, the asphalt has a cold, snowy shimmer, and the promise of an early spring has been dashed by this dusting of the white stuff. What’s more, the forecast is for dreary, cold temperatures for the next 10 days.
I disagree with T.S. Eliot: in the Midwest, March, not April, is the cruelest month. Whether it comes in like a lamb or a lion, March invariably teases us with warm days where the promise of spring is definitely in the air, then crushes our hopes with cold temperatures, cold winds, and snow. March is the month with the most unpredictable weather, and it comes at the precise time when we most want to put winter behind us and enjoy the delights of spring.
Here’s the beginning of Eliot’s The Waste Land. Substitute March for April, and it remains apt:
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.