A ZUIHITSU For the IDES of APRIL
“Friday the 13th comes on a Thursday this month.”
~Churchill LaFemme (Walt Kelly)
My youngest sister married a widower on a Friday the 13th in Lent. She had to clean the first wife’s clothes out of the closet when she moved into his house. Her choice of a date was criticized. Eventually she and her husband had 7 cats. She died on a Sunday in June, twelve years later.
“I soften with my sunshine and my showers/ The heart of earth,” H.W. Longfellow wrote in his poem “April.” It recently occured to me that he was referencing Chaucer, whose “smale foweles maken melodye,/That slepen al the nyght with open ye,/So priketh hem Nature in hir corages.” However, I disagree with Henry’s choice of Zodiac figures: it’s hard to see April as a bull, no matter how wreathed his horns. I prefer Chaucer’s ram.
My maternal grandmother died in April. So did two of our cats and one of our dogs. An old colleague of mine just died and another is dying, as is my 101 year old godmother. What’s up with that?
It will be warmer than 80 degrees today. If anyone dares say to me that it’s “lovely” or something similar, I might knock them down.
Yesterday, I found an enormous blob of springtails in the ephemeral stream that runs through the gully below our house, thousands of them. Tens of thousands of them, with more drifting in. Strangely, they are not considered insects, but Collembola and there are perhaps 8,200 species of them. There can be as many as 300 million in an acre of land. I looked at a few with a hand lens. They are charming little things with six legs and antennae. They appear purposeful, and seem to engage with one another.
Maybe “a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” in spring, but it seems old women’s heavily turn to the pains in hips and feet and how gardening gets harder every year. That’s hardly fancy, however. Just simple fact.
Five fanciful things: 1. The clay troll I made to guard the pallet bridge over the gully. 2. Mermaids. 3. Dragons. 4. Forty red tulips sending forth leaves in the vegetable garden. 5. Trying to write a zuihitsu on a hot April day.