‘Nothing is so beautiful as Spring’

“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring.”

For the readers following national championship men’s basketball this week, that quote might get an argument. But with the start of a new month, recognized as National Poetry Month, this first line of a poem from the 19th century seems appropriate.

The poem, simply titled “Spring,” was written by English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Like the NCAA men’s basketball championship, spring started in March. It is April, however, that seems to seriously welcome a new season. Warmer weather, longer days, green lawns, louder chirping from the birds, beautiful flowers in bloom, and income tax preparation all combine to bring variety to our lives.

The poet Christina Rossetti wrote that “Spring is when life is alive in everything.”

“Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men,” according to an ancient Chinese proverb.

That is true here in the tri-state area, where some of the flowering plants seem to change overnight from their winter doldrums into dress of beautiful flower blossoms. Suddenly, it seems, “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring.”

The month of April is listed on some calendars as “National Humor Month,” “Keep America Beautiful Month,” and “Lawn and Garden Month.”

One might wonder if the promoters of a month in praise of humor considered that April starts with April’s Fool Day and then taxes our sense of humor at mid-month when we are required to meet the deadline for filing income tax returns. Could they have been inspired by childhood humor that declared “Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, I wonder where the birdie is.”

Thomas Sowell, American writer and economist, noted the irony when he suggested “Elections should be held on April 16 -the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”

On a more serious note, the National Park Service observes the week of April 20-28 as National Park Week, reminding us of the importance of the national park system and its value to young and old alike. Living in the shadow of historic Cumberland Gap affords tri-state families the opportunity to enjoy a major national park as often as time permits.

And, then, near the end of the month, Easter Sunday on the 21st brings us to the most important date in the Christian church and to another reminder that “nothing is so beautiful as Spring.”

William H. Baker is a native of Claiborne County and a former resident of Middlesboro. Email address: wbaker@limestone.edu