April 2, 2013

"April, quite simply, is NOT to be trusted."

Charles Burchfield, An April Mood, 1946-55; watercolor and charcoal on joined paper, 
40 x 54 in. From the Whitney Museum of American Art website.

So say the weather guys at the Eye on the Sky at the Fairbanks Museum. It seems that Burchfield had the same feeling about April from looking at his monumental watercolor: the sky, the trees, are bleak and forlorn, and even though there's a bit of green and yellow, it seems a landscape of despair. 

Just when I thought that spring was advancing, I woke to a snow covered landscape. It was a light dusting to be sure, and was gone by afternoon, but it's a reminder that winter isn't done yet. The temperature today didn't rise above 30º and the wind was roaring.

There are beautiful traceries of snow on the skylight windows.

The one small area of open water on the pond is freezing over, but there are small bits of green, yellow flag irises emerging, that offer signs of hope. We all know the phrase "April is the cruelest month", so here is a snippet of the poem "The Wasteland" from T.S. Eliot:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.


  1. and how graceful his versification of those simple phrases and words...

    1. yes, isn't it? I also love the phrases about winter that come right after, but they didn't fit the theme:
      Winter kept us warm, covering
      Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
      A little life with dried tubers.

  2. Take heart. There is hope. We went through the April cruelties in March down here in Atlanta, GA. We did not have the ice and snow, but there were leaden skies, blustery winds, sub-freezing nights after night after night. I kept putting my potted plants out on the back stoop of my condo when the sun warmed during the day, then dragged them back inside at night when the weatherman warned of frost. Now, like a curtain suddenly drawn open, the trees and bushes and myriad flowers are in bloom at last. 57 degrees now in the afternoon, going down to 45 tonight. Yay!

    1. Thanks for that upbeat assessment, Cecilia. It's been terribly cold the past few days but is supposed to warm up a bit tomorrow. How nice that you're seeing blooms.

  3. Thanks for introducing me to a new Burchfield and reminding me of Eliot. About a century ago in college, some friends and I each memorized his Four Quarters. I can't recall the words, but I still retain the rhythm and the atmosphere and that great integrating creativity.

    1. Julie, that Burchfield was in the show at the Whitney a couple years ago; a great painting. I have to admit that I haven't read Eliot, except for a few lines; I'm not much of a poetry reader and he's a bit over my head.