April is the cruelest month – so full of hope

Posted on April 12, 2008


April, April.  One day the sun comes out, snowmelt braids paths to the Bay, and we tell each other the corner has turned.  We make a trip to Pine Hill Nursery for seedlings we’ll have to tend indoors for weeks.  We leave our coats in the car. The next night it sleets.  We curse the insult of lingering winter, slip and slide up to the Eastport Market for salt and order another tank of LP.  Hopes lifted and dashed and budding again.

April seems especially cruel during times of economic hardship. Torch Lake is an affluent township, but even here some of the neighbors did without heat this month. Some struggled to feed their families. The hope is there, too, as neighbors help neighbors.

Jane Lund and Mary Lee Bretz unpack donations at the Community Cupboard in Elk RapidsOn Friday, members of the Antrim County Women Democrats turned out in force to collect donations for food banks in Ellsworth, Mancelona, Bellaire and Elk Rapids.  Township residents Judy King, Mary Lee Bretz and Lynne Caylor were among the volunteers at the Village Market in Elk Rapids, where shoppers were very generous. Bags and boxes of cereal, soup, tuna, peanut butter, household products and toiletries accumulated rapidly. Shopper RJ Arnott stopped to offer pillow donations from the Select Comfort store he manages in Traverse City. One woman added two heavy bags to the pile with a big smile. When her children were small, she had needed help. She was so glad to be able to give it back now. All of it went to the Community Cupboard at the First Presbyterian Church in Elk Rapids, where coordinator Jane Lund was delighted to get it.  She says 39 families (more than 140 people) used the pantry last month.  (Photo: Jane Lund and Mary Lee Bretz unpack donations.)

Hopes lifted and dashed and budding again: the perfect time for National Poetry Month.  I love poetry.  I believe in its healing power. I subscribe to a daily dose of it via email from The Writer’s Almanac.  One day the poem was Mary Oliver’s Hum.  It’s a lovely reminder that there is such a thing as summer.  I recommend it. 

Terry Wooten is Torch Lake Township’s best-known poet.  He’s posted three of his best-loved works online.  You can hear these and many, many more during the 25th Anniversary celebration at Stone Circle this summer.  You may be sure I’ll tell you more about that as plans develop. 

April, April.  Fight back.  Read poetry.  Donate to the food bank, or anywhere else your charitable impulses may lead you.  And may sun warm whatever patch of spring flowers lives near you.