If February Doesn’t March, April May

Black dog smelling yellow flower. Spring

I have a friend who is rapturously joyful at the first bug of spring. I about drove off the road once trying to ascertain her sudden gasp until she finally sputtered, “It’s a bug! It’s the first bug of spring!”

To me, this foretells mosquitos, biting flies, no-see-ums, and the unfurling of poison ivy. My response is therefore more of a groan. I’ll be itchy now until the first hard frost in October.

To her, the first bug of spring represents something else: Sunshine, gardening, the imminent onset of summer. Things she has been looking forward to all winter.

Flower in rocks

I’ll take fall as my season of choice. Cool nights, sunny days, the earthy smell of falling leaves. And best of all, less bugs. There is one thing about the months of spring that can’t be matched by autumn though, and that is the litany of linguistic treasures.

Spring Quotes – Wisdom in Nonsense

Anyone raised in a northern climate is probably familiar with the “in like a lion, out like a lamb” references to March. And I’ve often heard “April showers bring May flowers.” The New England-born take this one step further with the quip – If April showers bring May flowers, what does the May flower bring?”

Answer: The Pilgrims!

September just doesn’t have this. Compared to the unfurling anticipation that has brought out generations of springtime poets, fall just drops peacefully into winter.

I’ll give the springtime months their due. As I swish the encroaching bugs away from my face, my footsteps keep time with one of my favorite springtime rhythms chanting in my head: If February doesn’t march, April may.

Red Tulip in Green Field. Spring quotes

It’s a nonsensical play on words that also manages to capture the very essence of spring. Spring marches forward. Winter can try to hold it back, but ultimately spring will always win. Where we fit in the rhythm is up to us. Are we like February refusing to march forward? Are we like March roaring one minute and gentle as a lamb the next as we deal with the turmoil of transition? Are we like a soaking April rain, grey in the deluge but bursting forth in greenery in due time? Or, are we like May, the shoulder of summer, flowering in color and sunshine to welcome the new season?

Our Next Step

Of course, seasons come earlier or later depending on where in the world we reside. My springtime chants don’t work in the southern hemisphere when March is ushering in winter rather than sending it packing. But the message this little chant contains is true for all of us. In this season of transition, we are being pulled forward with the tide of time.

What’s holding you back this spring? Swish the bugs away and lace up your marching shoes. A whole new season is calling us forward!



Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s Word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with her two- and four-footed friends. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org


  1. I absolutely love this! Like you, fall is my favorite, but spring is a close second. Bugs and all! And who knows? Today, on this 10th day of the 5th month, I just May March! MAY-be!😉

  2. Janet, your play on words did more than capture the essence of spring. I loved this, and like the friend you mentioned at the start of your story, I love all the nuances of each season that most people miss. Thanks and love.

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