Bracing oneself for the arrival of mid-April

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2001

I’m bracing myself for mid-April.

Wednesday, April 04, 2001

I’m bracing myself for mid-April. Why, you ask? Because I already can sense it is going to be busy.

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April 16 is tax day. I don’t even want to think about it, though I have a tax appointment later this week. For the first time in my life, I have to itemize this year. Ugh! Enough said.

On to happier thoughts of mid-April – of Easter: Peeps, caramel Cadbury eggs and hollow milk chocolate bunnies. Oops, I mean the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus. Funny how massive amounts of sweets sometimes overshadows the true meaning of holidays, doesn’t it? Sorry, won’t happen again. (By the way, have you ever microwaved a Peep? Do it. It rocks!)

April 15 is Easter, which means I will be heading home for a couple days of eating way too much and playing with my niece, nephew and younger cousins. Basically, I’ll be surrounding myself with youth and joy for those two days.

I don’t know why, but Easter seems very clean to me. It is as if Gaia, dressed in winter, sloughs her skin and emerges exfoliated and shiny. Actually, that is exactly what happens: new life breaks out from the trees and soil. I always feel such promise with Easter. Why is that?

Maybe it is because I prefer things green and screamingly alive. Easter is the harbinger of the spring and the new year. What I tend to forget is that every day, even in the winter, the trees and the ground are alive and birds still sing, even if they are hidden from my eyesight.

I often feel the same way about myself. At times I feel stale and boring and stifled and only when I buy a new piece of clothing or something new to look at do I feel renewed. That is silly, of course.

It’s time I remembered that I am eternally the same tree, but am always growing in some minute way, whether my roots inch into the soil to ground me or my leaves bud in showy ecstasy or my twigs and branches reach and stretch to the sun’s warm rays, too far for me to grasp. No matter what, I’m alive and different every day.

In Japan, about a week of this month is spent in celebrating and praying for, among other things, the glory of nature and the healthy growth and happiness of boys and girls. Later this month, the United States celebrates Earth Day. It’s all about celebrating renewal, new life and growth. Amen to that!

I will let a television character conclude this column for me. In particular, Chris Stevens, a character from the show "Northern Exposure," will speak through me. This quote comes from the episode "Wake-Up Call." In the episode, different forms of renewal are shown. One character’s skin peels off, like that of a snake; one character learns a new way to view his job that makes him more effective in the long run; and another character’s broken heart again takes flight when a bear changes to human form and falls in love with her. I highly recommend you watch it to get the full impact. Anyway, at the end of the episode, Chris, the town’s DJ, quotes a portion of the poem "Renascence," written in 1917 by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

Chris: "It ought to be spring every day. Every day we ought to wake up brand new."

Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I

And hailed the earth with such a cry

As is not heard save from a man

Who has been dead, and lives again.

About the trees my arms I wound;

Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;

I raised my quivering arms on high;

I laughed and laughed into the sky.

And just as an aside, April 15 is the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. If thoughts of that tragedy don’t teach us to live every day as if it is the first and last of our lives, then nothing can.

Enjoy Spring, Austin!

Call Kevira Mertha at 434-2233 or e-mail her at Her column appears Wednesdays.