Journal Entries, April 2020

Title: Journal Entries, April 2020

Submitted by: Helen R.

Three journal entries, based on a T.S. Eliot quotation.



“April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.”

-T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land


I drive to a doctor’s appointment, my first time behind the wheel in over three weeks.  Hardly any other cars are on the road. I have to focus to navigate my way through town, paying close attention to the traffic lights and one-way signs.  I realize I am used to other cars guiding me on my route, the traffic cuing me where to stop, when to go, where to turn.  Today, I am on my own.


I walk the dog to the park every day, rain (or snow) or shine. I watch the branches on the forsythia bush in my neighbor’s yard produce small tight buds which unfurl into bright yellow leaves. I see the daffodils poke their heads up through the soil, the grass turn from brown to green, the magnolia tree slowly reveal its white flowering petals.  I work at a university, and April is one of the busiest months; I usually leave the house early and come home after dark. In May, I would walk outside and discover spring had arrived. But when you have the time to look, you can see it coming the entire time. Like most things, I guess.


I go to the local nature preserve with my husband; we’ve agreed to meet my son and his partner at the Shiawassee Nature Refuge. I look forward to this plan; I haven’t seen my son outside of a Zoom call in a month. We meet in the parking lot and walk the trail, keeping our obligatory six feet apart. My son is 24-year-old adult, with a college education, his own car and place to live, and until about three weeks ago, his own job.  But as I watch him walk ahead of me, I feel an overwhelming urge to run to catch up to him.  I want to fix his collar, flipped up by the wind, and smooth the cowlick that curls below his right ear, I want to touch his arm, hold his face in my hands.  I want to hug him, tightly, for a long time. But I can’t.  “I don’t know if this is better or worse than not seeing him at all,” I say to my husband, as we trudge down the path.  “Both.” he says.  “It’s better and worse.”