Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Wonders of April



     April is when spring really bursts forth. April presents itself as a riot of color, vibrant, and often with warm and sunny days. It brings people out into the world, to walk, run, fish,, garden, birdwatch, do home repairs, and much, much more. It is also a month with a ton of national observances, special days, and holidays. While there is no day in our 365 day calendar that is not a National Day of something, April has the second highest number of national days and observances of any month, trailing only October’s 219 such days. There are 167 special days in April, and they run the gamut of causes, observations, actions, and social issues. Some of them may seem a bit silly: April 14, for example, is International Moment of Laughter Day as well as National Ex-Spouse Day. April 17 is Wear Pajamas to Work Day, something that has probably already happened on a lot of other days in this COVID adjusted world of work. There are food days: National Peach Cobbler Day is April 13, Zucchini Bread Day is April 25, Deep Dish Pizza Day is April 5, and National Picnic Day is April 23.  There are animal days, including days to hug your dog (4/10) and honor your pet (4/11). There are days to take a chance, (4/23), kiss your mate (4/28), go skipping (4/24,) and even a day to be kind to lawyers (4/13). Clearly people love and need to celebrate, and in April we make plenty of ways to do that.

    Some of these April month-long celebrations and days are important to me. They serve to remind me of things that I consider important but may be taken for granted or overlooked either by me and/or by our larger national culture. National Library Workers Day and Library Week, as I wrote about in the last newsletter, are times for me to express my gratitude for the number of libraries, particularly public libraries, that we are privileged to have and the incredible things they make possible. When I became a teacher and had a number of students that I didn’t quite understand or “get,” school counselors taught me about the autism spectrum and how to be more effective with some of my students.  So I became appreciative that April is National Autism Awareness Month; my learning about that has helped me to be much more open-minded in looking at people in general. As a nation have recently become more willing to look at the role unintentional bias has in all aspects of our lives, and I appreciate that this is National Minority Health Month. This month features special programs and webinars that share important information about and increase awareness of issues related to that issue. Being a birdwatcher, Earth Day (4/22) matters a lot also. It reminds me to ask, “What am I doing to care for and nurture the earth?’ and “How are my actions reflecting what I say I like?”

   All of this makes me step back and realize is just how wonderful but complicated this business of living in a community and a civilization can be and is.  We are involved in a slew of activities, conversations, and interactions that connect us with other people, often without fully realizing the impact it has on us and that we can have on them. We can take a lot of things for granted and not pay attention or be aware of them, but just about all that each one of us does often connects to and affects people beyond our immediate circle. One of the benefits of all of these observances for me is that they can help us think beyond our circle and realize how much we are linked to others, how much often owe to others, and how much we can contribute to others. It makes me appreciate our inter-connectedness, although that is admittedly challenging at times.  Having these days can also remind of us of some small things that we need to pay attention to for our own personal good: the fun of a picnic (4/23), the importance taking time to laugh (4/17) and the pleasure and responsibility being appreciative of mates and pets (4/28 and 4/11, respectively.)

        Looking at a calendar, then, can be more than just a way to know what day it is. It can lead us to new awarenesses, discoveries, possibilities, and even fun. Happy Calendar Watching-take some time to see what the rest of this month and other months have in store

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Vote: Like You Live Here

   Voting has been in the news of late, and it is important to be aware of and to take part in the electoral process. Yes, the Presidential election is over, but most things that most directly affect most of us happen and/or get their start at the state and local level. So these “off year” elections matter a great deal. Most states have primary elections coming up soon. Here are some important dates for Pennsylvania. If you do not live in PA, please check out your state’s important dates. Voting is a way we say we are here.

May 3, 2021

Last day to REGISTER before the primary

May 11, 2021

Last day to apply for a mail-in or civilian absentee ballot

May 18, 2021

Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted mail-in and civilian absentee ballots (must be received by 8:00 P.M.)