So April finishes today: traditionally a month of unsettled weather, sunshine and showers, though in fact this year it has been here in the South-East the most remarkable time of endless blue skies and natural beauty. Such a poignant contrast to the indoors world of our hospitals and care homes....
Thinking of ‘April showers’, I wonder where such popular terms come from? I suppose we build up our understanding of the world from our education and upbringing. And part of that upbringing is to absorb the common wisdom around us. No single person we can identify first put together the words ‘April’ and ‘showers’; it’s just a combination that’s there in our language, the result, probably, of careful observation over many centuries. And until the Industrial Revolution we were in these islands a rural, agricultural society, dependent on the weather for our sowing and harvest, for our food and survival. We needed to be aware of the seasons, of how nature worked, and how we could work with it.
These past weeks have given many of us a new insight into the natural world. Released (or imprisoned!) from our usual busy-ness, we’ve had the chance to listen to birdsong; to observe the miraculous creativity of Spring; even to realise, perhaps, that (as the poet G M Hopkins said) ‘there lives the dearest freshness deep down things’; that nature itself is indwelt by the Spirit of God.