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Essay: Loving April

I can feel the cold coming off the river as we slide the canoe into the current. I shiver in my many layers, wishing I had more. 
April is my favorite month but each year it tests my loyalty. Today we have blue skies and icy winds, as if to demonstrate this principle.

“Warming up?” my husband asks. He has noticed how fast I’m paddling. “Almost,” I answer.
One side of the river is in shadow, a black and white picture of bare trees and patches of lingering snow.
On the other side, the sun shines and the colors gleam—the rich brown of last year’s cattails, the soft green of this year’s willows.
We’re traveling between the dark and the light, I think, between winter and spring.
“How about some coffee?” Dick asks, already steering the canoe toward shore.
We sit on a big log in bright sun, passing the thermos cup between us. The peanut butter cookies are greasy and delicious.
We come here every April, a tradition that I’m especially grateful for this year. With all the turmoil in the larger world, I need the seasonal certainties of nature.
We’re traveling between winter and spring—but spring will come. It’s all I know for sure and this morning it seems enough.