Aprils and Openers

TS Eliot called April “the cruelest month” and after the winter we’ve had there are many reasons to agree. Yet the French greet the month with “poisons d’Avril” – “the fish of April” – recognizing with classic wry Gallic humor that those who expect more of April are no more than the silly little fingerlings soon to be snapped up by hungry trout (and they, by bears.) These “poisson” always put us in mind of April 1st as the first day of fishing season on inland waters – the first forays on the icy rivers. Did you know Maine hosts 90% of the wild brook trout in lakes and ponds in the US?

April in New England always comes inevitably to our Revolutionary roots. Patriots Day (April 20), once celebrated precisely on “the eighteenth of April” to honor “seventy-five” is now a mutable date. What was once an excuse for a spring outing, the home-opener at Fenway(now an earlier date, April 13 and a cause for celebration, all by itself here in Red Sox Nation) and the Boston Marathon now bears stronger memories like that morning on the Town Green in Lexington. It can seem as if New England can’t get past the Revolution when it comes to history; but that was the era that made its impression with British raids and enemies on our doorsteps (even though we play the history lightly during Windjammer Days). Having faced down both the weather and the Abenaki in what we considered “our” woods, we were ready for April mornings of planting not guns. It’s a contrast a culture never quite forgets.

April is the time for new beginnings – for baby lambs and chicks and bunnies, for a rainbow of eggs, candy and the time-honored holiday traditions of Passover and Easter, shared at the family table. Like the alewives, we head back to familiar waters until in late May and June another season brings us to the ocean.

We look at April mornings with a deep sense of history, while scanning thin branches for buds and birds. The Masters (April 6-12) makes us itch for the opening of the course atBoothbay Country Club. Here at Spruce Point we monitor the phones as families who discussed their summer plans over holiday meals (or the Sox games) call to make their reservations. By May 22, our season opener, we’ll be watching for those alewives coursing down to the sea.