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April is the Cruelest Month

May 24, 2023


         At least according to T S Eliot. In his epic 1921 poem The Waste Land, he reflects on the horrors of the recent global war. Death and suffering are all that the spring brings us, according to his remarkable tome.


         On the other hand, this is what The Old Farmer’s Almanac has to say about the month of April:


                           Hark, the cock crows, and you bright star

                           Tell us the day himself is not far

                                    Charles Cotton


While a bumblebee may not be the first insect you see in spring, it is likely to be the first sound you hear. The buzz starts on some hushed morning over snow bent grass or sun-washed earth split by swelling bulbs.

These big bumblebees are fertilized queens, sole survivors from last autumn. The flight of each  is slow and purposeful, not wild and erratic as in the operatic score “Flight of the Bumblebee’.

The queen is searching for a nest site – perhaps an abandoned chipmunk burrow – which she’ll stuff with grass and moss. Next, she’ll make a thimble-sized wax pot and fill it with nectar. Finally, she’ll knead pollen and nectar into ‘bee bread’. The nectar will sustain her while she is brooding. Larvae will eat the bread.

The bumblebee’s fur will allow her to live in colder climes than most other insects. One species, Bombus Polaris, has been reported 62 miles from the North Pole.

North Americans are fond of bumblebees. They’re harbingers of fine weather, resemble winged eddy bears and are so good-natured that getting one to sting you is a major undertaking. But most important, they’re ours. Unlike honeybees, they are native.


So let us go gently into the day in awe of nature, her beauty and our gracious welcoming of eternal spring. Eliot was a scrooge. His dystopian view of the world was scarred by the horror of devastation unnaturally welcomed by most of Europe in August of 1914. Read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August.

We are far removed from such horrors today. We wisely cringe at the localized terror of children killed in Tennessee by a crazed woman seeking some horrid retribution for unnamed sins. It wasn’t the gun that killed those children it was a human intent on doing exactly that.

We have enough trouble in our world today. Let it go, if only for a few hours, take a friend to lunch in the snowy mountains or the sunny beach. Write a note to someone you love. Work in the yard, on your car on helping a neighbor with theirs.

    Eat wisely

Sleep well

Love with Abandon!


John Graves, AIF, CLU, ChFC                        

Registered Principal
The Renaissance Group, LLC



805.652.6942  fax 805.652.6930
199 Figueroa Street, Suite 101A  Ventura, CA  93001


CA Insurance License 0689525


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