When I was a kid, a favorite joke of my older brother was to wake us all up on April first with the exclamation "It is snowing!" Now growing up in Utah, the possibility of snow on April first was entirely possible, but usually spring had taken root in the land: the lawn was greening, trees were cracking blossoms and birds were assured that winter was pretty much behind. Of course we kids always fell for the joke, and sprang out of bed to see the miracle of one last welcome blanket of purity over the land, only to see the green lawn and the budding trees accompanied by the laughter of my brother. There were only a couple of times that he was wrong, and today would have been one of those days. April first snows make fools of us all, and it has been snowing hard here most of the day.
All in all, it has been a particularly cold winter. March is usually a transitional month where spring begins to stir in the land. Trees begin to bud. Birds find some comfort in the hope of of regeneration. I went away on a trip for a week with the hope that spring would take hold and the world would explode with flowers and birds.
When I returned, I came back to the same winter-overed, silent land. Empty branches greeted me.
Even still, I put away my sidewalk salt.
The peach tree in my backyard was fooled, it seems, and has nearly budded. Its buds are iced-over now, and nearly open. The forsythia in the neighbor's yard was fooled and came out in full bloom weeks late and on an April Fool's snow day at that.
All have been fooled, you see, as I've brought out my sidewalk salt again and cast it widely on my steps, even though I know the snow will most likely all melt tomorrow.
And so, as I sit here contemplating the long, strange winter, I look out on the darkness of the street below and write the following:
The promise of fruit
Is all you have to offer
Snow-covered peach tree