April this year used everything that she had in her weather tool box. She began with a cloudy day, but then managed to get the sky unclogged and the sun poured out.

After resting for two cloudy days, she turned the wrong lever and a snow flurry leaked through on April 5, well into Springtime.

This seemed to unnerve April; she never got the system working smoothly after that. It sometimes rained for several days in a row; sometimes the morning fog lasted until evening.

In between April's frenzies, she somehow produced sunny, Chamber-of-Commerce days that made you wish you could frolic as well as the young White-Tailed Deer.

Nonetheless, April kept the system running enough to justify her name. (The Romans named her “the opening” month [aperire: “to open”], in reference to the awakening of flowers and leaves during her shift.) The usual early bloomers in the gardens returned more or less on time and others were bursting with buds as April punched her time card. Among them were Daffodils, Andromeda, Rhododendron, and Forsythia:


When April started the job, important bog-preserving plants were just a hope. For example, only the spathes of Skunk Cabbage had emerged. Yet, on April’s last day before her 11-month vacation, the cabbage leaves were beginning to open and Fiddlehead (Ostrich) Ferns were emerging in their tight wrappings.

Also returning more or less on time were the migratory birds that nest here, including Tree Swallows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and Northern Flickers.

Wild Turkeys are permanent residents here, but April is the month that the males (Toms) start to get kinky: They puff themselves up into hulks twice their usual size and strut stiffly around trying to impress the ladies.

Looking back at the whole month, one thing stands out: This was one of the wettest Aprils that we’ve had. And that's what we needed most from April. Last year, New England had a serious drought that adversely affected our ground and surface water. April was a major contributor toward reversing those effects. The wells -- Maine's primary source of drinking water -- are working; ponds are high, and the mossy streams in the woods are wildly alive.

For larger versions of the above images, as well as additional images of moments in April that we want to remember, click on the link below. (We recommend that your initial viewing be in full-screen mode, which can be achieved by clicking on the Slideshow [>] icon above the featured image in the gallery to which the link will take you.) Here’s the link to the full tour of April in Down East Maine:



Barbara and Dick