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“Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.

In the dreamy vale of beeches
Far and faint is woven mist,
And the river’s orient reaches
Are the palest amethyst.

Every limpid brook is singing
Of the lure of April days;
Every piney glen is ringing
With the maddest roundelays.

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.”
~By Lucy Maud Montgomery

After the cold and ice of March; after the frigid wind and blowing snow, there comes a perfect April morning so filled with melodic birdsong and blooming daffodils that it makes the heart glad. There is no more longed-for season than spring, when hope buds anew and flowers into the reality of another new beginning.

I’ve often wondered why the New Year didn’t start in the spring. It is the perfect time for a new start, with winter in the past and all things beginning anew. The earth is awakening from her long sleep, and putting forth buds and sprouts for the new life. It is time to put away the old resentments and grudges of the past; time to let love and forgiveness bloom in our hearts and reach out to others.

The garden has been plowed, and I like to think of the past being plowed under. The hurts and disappointments of the past year need to be buried, along with our broken dreams and failures. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. It wipes the slate clean, and brings peace to the heart. The forgiveness of our Savior is a wonderful thing. Just to think of all of our ugly, dirty sins being erased by His blood, when we ask, is a miracle. In turn, we must extend forgiveness to others.

Sometimes the things that are done to us are so heart-breaking that humanly we can’t forgive. I once was in this position and I cried to God, “God, I can’t forgive!” It was then that He extended His forgiveness to me so that I could freely forgive that person from my heart. He exchanged the hurt for peace, and I was free from the offence. What a wonderful blessing!

New life is bursting out all around us. Just a few days of sunshine is causing the grass to grow and turn green. Great-grandson Hunter and I spied a tiny bird nest in the top of the maple tree, where two little sparrows flitted back and forth adding twigs to it. The maple tree is putting forth red bloom and the lilac bush is sprouting buds. It is worth surviving a harsh West Virginia winter just to witness the arrival of spring.

My friend Judy writes that her forsythia bush is showing yellow, while the daffodils are showing off. She planted onion sets in a flowerpot, as it was too early to plant outdoors and she just had to plant something! I wonder if it is being born and bred in the hills that makes us want to get out and get our hands in the dirt. I can’t get out in the garden as I used to, but I still have that longing.
Judy Cokeley found the poem that my friend Barb was requesting, and it was a song from back in the 40s.

I love to climb an apple tree
Though apples green are bad for me
And I’ll be sick as I can be
It’s foolish but it’s fun.

When thunderstorms put folks to rout
And no one dares to venture out
That’s when I love to slush about
It’s foolish but it’s fun.

If it should ever come to pass
That I inherit wealth
I’ll eat and drink and keep at it
Until I wreck my health.

I’ll never see the morning light
I’ll sleep all day and dance all night
And though I know it isn’t right
It’s foolish but it’s fun.

Lots of folks disagree with me
And possibly, I’m wrong
But I gathered my philosophy
From the moods of a silly song
Yes, possibly I’m wrong
Quite probably I’m wrong.

Well, I can agree with one verse of it. A spring thunderstorm, when the ground gets warmer, is a delight. The warm mud puddles are made for a child to slosh in—and why can’t grown-ups do it too. Some of my great-grandkids are going barefoot already, and exulting in the tender new grass between their toes. I don’t blame them.

Our five-year-old Maddie loves water. On one cold February day, when she was barely two, she jumped into the ditch which runs through our backyard, coats, boots and all. She plunged in and came up dripping wet, with a grin that said, “Boy, that was fun!” We brought her in the house, shivering and soaking wet, but still grinning.

The girls are riding their bicycles and having such fun on this lovely April day. I marvel at their energy and think of my carefree youthful days. I muse on what I would do if I were ten years old again. I would like to climb up the huge rocks that line the banks of the creek up Hickory Knob. I would pick the little red deer berries and the flavorful mountain tea berries. I would wade in the clear, cold water and watch the little silver minnows dart to and fro.

I would climb the Ball Diamond hill, up to the tree line, and then gather the soft moss that grows there for my playhouse. After outlining my rooms with sticks, and making a carpet from the moss, I would build my playhouse. If I were ten again, my sister Mary Ellen would be five, and there we would pretend and play until Mommy called us home.

But alas, I will never be ten again, so I content myself by watching the great-granddaughters play house and pretend to be “mommies.” In the blink of an eye, they will be grown up and become real mommies with real babies of their own. I wish I could tell them to play and have fun now, because these youthful days are fleeting.

I think of the poem that Mom used to quote, “Backward, turn backward, O time in your flight, Make me a child again just for tonight.”

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer