Friday, June 3, 2011


April Showers Bring May Flowers

“April showers bring May flowers.” We’ve all heard this rhyme, usually having been taught it at an early age by our parents or teachers. It’s a popular thing to say and hear around the springtime, but where did this rhyme come from?

In 1557 a gentleman by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry. In the April Husbandry section he wrote:

      “Sweet April showers, Do spring May flowers”

So, I guess this means there have been a lot of spring showers since at least 1557. But what do I know – after living in Las Vegas and then Laguna Beach for the past 30 years, I’d forgotten about cold or rain. In the past six months here in New York City I’ve noticed people putting up with all kinds of miserable weather - this past winter is now being referred to as the coldest, snowiest and longest in a long time and spring was said to be the wettest in decades. Rain every day for a month, cold and gray every day for that month too. So, April showers merged into May showers, and not much in the way of flowers were to be found. And then came June.

The sun came out: the grass has taken off and is growing like, well, a weed; the blooms and leaves on the trees have sprouted overnight and look nearly full-grown and what about the flowers and vegetables – let’s just say that in the past two weeks our tomato plants have grown to nearly my height. This unbelievable growth is unfortunately matched by the growth of allergies too – itchy eyes, runny noses and stuffy sinuses seem to be the rule and not the exception.

I had forgotten how much of a change this could be.  From trees that were bare, lawns that were brown, flower beds that needed a good raking – these have been replaced by the natural growth that softens the landscape and feeds the world. It’s an impressive sight – dandelions and buttercups dot the grasses, trees with all kinds of leaves and flowers, vegetable and flower gardens adorn every patch of dark brown soil. Nearly every street here in Brooklyn is lined with trees and each tree has a neat little enclosure that is filled with flowers and shrubs. And driving along the highways and byways throughout the East is accompanied by a riot of growth of grasses, trees and forests. A month ago I could look through the trees and see the depth of these forests - today I can’t see more than a few feet into the dense growth. It’s a glorious landscape and it clearly shows the renewable nature of nature.

It’s at times like these that I’m thrilled to be alive.  It’s at times like these that the growth around us inspires the growth within us. It’s at times like these that our place in the continuum of the universe is impressively apparent. Most of the time we live in our own little worlds, we notice little more than what’s immediately around us and we take life for granted. But in this time of spring growth, when the showers inevitably lead to the flowers, that’s when we truly acknowledge and join the greater community that surrounds our lives.  Enjoy this late Spring – and even though Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of Summer, there’s still a few more weeks before those lazy hazy days replace these days of wonderful growth. Enjoy these days and let them fill you with the wonder and pride of renewal and personal growth.

All of this reminds me of these words by George Harrison and the Beatles:

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right…

My message and quote this week is about quietly and calmly letting your sun shine through:

“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” -Jacques Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910 – 1997) was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.

Are you leading an extraordinary life? Some lead lives of quiet desperation (so said Thoreau) but that doesn’t mean we all can’t dream of better days and things to come. And when we accomplish more, when we achieve greater things, when we rise up above our normal selves, that’s a time when we can and should feel full of excitement and pride. That’s a time when we should share our new-found realities with our family and friends and colleagues. Because truth be told, these personal triumphs inspire others to try harder, to care more, to work longer, to dream bigger and to get up on our tiptoes and look out over the horizon for the next big thing. It’s hard to believe that the rain will stop, the sun will come out, the blossoms will bloom and the birds will sing – but if we can see these changes in others, then we can begin to hope and dream ourselves. Find your successes and share them with others today – you have no right to keep them to yourself.

Stay Well!

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