Jim McGuire: Welcoming April!

Ahh-h-h, April! Sweet, sweet April!

I’m so glad to see you’re finally here—so thankful spring has finally arrived!

Yes, I know that technically speaking the season began a few days earlier, near the end of March. But who are we trying to kid?

I’m a lifelong Buckeye—well aware of Ohio’s fickle weather and what to expect. I’ve been around the block way too many times to ever view March as a genuine spring month.

Weather-wise, March is about as untrustworthy as a junkyard dog. Definitely not spring, regardless of what anyone or any almanac claims!

However, April’s arrival is a much different matter! I believe in April’s legitimacy, have confidence in its truth!

April is not merely the first full month of this brand new season, it’s the time when astronomical promises actually become field-verified and heartaccepted fact. Calendar and season finally agree, as landscape and weather hereabouts truly starts to look and feel like spring.

I love spring! Love watching the land change from winter’s lingering bareness to a rich cloak of dazzling chlorophyll green!

If you don’t believe in magic, you haven’t rambled around outside and paid attention to April’s astonishing show. Resurrection isn’t just a cornerstone of my spiritual faith, it’s a matter of natural fact, a tenet of earth’s annual rebirth— visible to anyone with the eyes to see and the willingness to look around!

April replenishes my soul on all fronts.

Come April, I absolutely adore all the lovely wildflowers —spring’s delicate and shortlived. Blooms both large and small, rare and common, in colors as varied and dazzling as those in any artist’s paintbox. I take great pleasure in tramping local meadows and woodlands to seek these comely ephemerals out.

I also love foraging April’s burgeoning countryside for the year’s first tasty messes of potherbs — especially dandelions, which I gather and cook by the bagful. They’re my favorite greens. And I can scarcely keep from salivating on those glorious occasions when I stumble upon a tote-sack horde of morels!

Then there’s April’s birdsong—a day-long dawn-to-dusk symphony, performed with what can only be described as joy! Countless feathered choristers singing of matters procreative and territorial.

When you listen to spring’s birds, you’re hearing the future!

But I mustn’t forget the coldblooded vocalists—toads and frogs who trill and croak, harrump and bellow. They, too, sing messages about tomorrow.

Sometime come April I’ll have to make a camping trip in the hill-country. I always need to get my annual fix of listening to wild turkeys gobble in the morning—calls ringing across dark hollows as a rising sun finds its way above the steep, wooded slopes. Plus I want to hear grouse drumming—that sharp, fast, accelerating staccato beat, as much percussive as auditory.

Finally there’s April’s fishing—in brooks and creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes. The year’s best angling! Not in terms of action and catches, but because it comes after months of piscatorial abstinence—a depressing weather-imposed stretch of angling celibacy that no amount of vicarious substitutes can palliate.

April is literally an incorrigible angler’s lifesaver!

For all its gifts and virtues, April isn’t perfect. Especially not when it comes to weather. Spring in Ohio is simply never a smooth and steady transition. While the overall direction may be improvement, it does not arrive in a linearly progressive manner.

Instead, the season unfolds in stutters and stumbles, fumbling mostly forward, but also circling and backpedaling amid numerous fits and restarts. April’s spring kick-off can always be counted on to deliver a sort of weather version of a square-dancer’s do-si-do.

Frank Snare, my old outdoor pal, used to claim April was the only month when a fellow could get sunburned and frostbit on the same day. On more than one occasion, I’ve come disturbingly close to proving his theory.

Weather setbacks are springtime’s norm—and April is their prime month. Temperatures regularly backtrack. Don’t be surprised to see a day serve up conditions that makes you wonder if you’ve somehow regressed to March.

Yet for all this fickleness, April is still fully and inarguably spring. And spring is a healing and rejuvenating season of youth and enthusiasm, hopes and plans, and dreams of the future. The sort of morale booster we can all use a big infusion of given this past year!

Ahh-h-h, April! Sweet, sweet April!

Welcome back! I’m sincerely looking forward to seeing and sampling your annual show—though you did start the month off with that nasty April Fool’s Day prank of freezing temperatures and flurries of snow!

Well, I can take a joke—so I forgive you. Besides, I know Aprils are prone to such shenanigans. And I’m glad to be around to see you return and start the journey anew.