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April 1, 2022

Is April indeed the “cruelest month,” as T. S. Eliot writes (The Waste Land), or is it the season of sweet renewal, as Chaucer promises, when “showers sweet” bathe the parched earth and nourish budding flowers (The Canterbury Tales)?

This April, I suspect, may be a bittersweet month for all of us, as we celebrate the conclusion of another semester and honor our graduates while waiting uneasily for the next phases of the alignment and allocation process, in which we have been immersed for so many months, to take shape.

I am struck, each year, by how different April feels at its beginning and at its ending.

I think, as the month begins, of all the work that remains to be done during these last weeks of the semester, and I imagine—perhaps playing the April fool—how much of that work we shall be able to accomplish before the term ends.

At month’s end, I experience the sense of finality that the closing of the semester imparts: put down your pencils, hand your papers forward, and pack your bags, because our work together, finished or not, has come to a close.

I don’t know what to expect from April of 2022, but as Oscar Wilde reminds us, “to expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” (An Ideal Husband). Sun and rain, soft spring breezes and gale-force winds—spring is always a volatile and unpredictable season, so perhaps the best advice in these uncertain times is to remain open to any and every eventuality.

“I see,” James Baldwin writes, “that time’s cruel ability / to make one wait / is time’s reality” (“Munich, Winter 1973 [for Y.S.]”). I wish us all the very best as we wait to see what the realities of the coming days may be.

Dr. David Macey signature

J. David Macey, Ph.D.