Fool for April

Blogger’s Note: I wrote this April 1, 2004, while headed to work. Jodi was working for Cargill at that time, and pregnant with Trevor. That April, unlike this one, was sunny and warm. I’m listless in this grey haze today, and I sincerely want to spend the next several days with my family, doing nothing. No such luck, I’m afraid.

I’m on the bus this Thursday morning. We’re not yet underway — fellow commuters straggle in in twos and threes. Cars, I mean — everyone drives his or her own car to the Park and Ride; every one a good American. At least we’ve embraced the bus to get us from here downtown, right? Folks are smiling this morning, sleepy but not tired. I know the feeling.

I’m a fool for April. Growing up in Michigan, or Minnesota for that matter, you know March is bound to be a mess of slush and mud. Like November, it’s going to be blustery and cold, with a fair chance of snow or sleet.

But April! It’s like a whole new world this morning — not a cloud for miles, the sun’s high in the sky already, and I drove the old pickup in this morning in a sweater and sunglasses. April Fool’s or not, I can’t help but but have hope that spring may have sprung at last.

Mornings like this, it feels like the world’s great eye opens wide and bright and stares back at us in wonder — what strange creatures are these, queued up and bound downtown to sit in cubes and punch keys on a morning made for loving, sleeping long and late, stretching, smiling, and blinking in the sunshine? Is the weekend rain any wonder? The heavens weep at our investments, our invented urgencies, and our ignorance.

The ache has returned — that tight pit in my stomach that strains to contain my urges (selfish and otherwise) to escape this race and return home, buy flowers along the way, call Jodi home feigning sickness, lay out clean sheets and open all the windows, nap through lunch, eat late, pick up the kids early, and sit cross-legged on the floor with our sons and daughter, laughing as mommy soaks in the tub, the bubbles spoofing her round belly and popping in the attempt. Another day, another dollar, another baby on the way. The world should pay parents to stay together at home with their children. Leave the hard work to the young and ambitious, and the planning to elders, who have can see the big picture by virtue of being closer to heaven.

It’s both selfish and selfless, this urge to wrap my arms around these dear friends and hold them close. We are all brothers and sisters, though positioned at times as adversaries. A sister of mine recalls a verse: Owe no man anything except respect. We are all worth less than we let on and more than we’ll ever know — less because those things we often emphasize in ourselves matter least to those around us, and more because we’ve no perspective. The mirror distorts, the camera frames — only through contact and interaction are we manifest truly. Only in love, or lack thereof.

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