April Food Day
What is it about April—this month that stirs us to look forward, and then yanks us back into the harsh chill of winter, that makes it a particularly appealing subject for poets, as well as readers of poetry? Poet T.S. Eliot wrote “April is the cruelest month,” and many would agree. What is so intriguing about April?
Perhaps it is no coincidence that April is National Poetry Month. Distinguished poets like— Walt Whitman , Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Mary Oliver — have penned lyrical verse about April. Though they differ in tone and mood, style, and focus, they share a theme that instills a heightened tension of opposing natural forces; something that is particularly apparent in this month of awakenings and climactic extremes.
While the rhythm of the seasons in all its delicate transformations moves from death to life in its own time and way, the passage is not always witnessed. Hope might still be buried in the ground, like a small seed, waiting for a bit more sun or nourishment. Yet, that which isn’t seen is not evidence of its absence.
This day, fittingly called — April Food Day — transposing “food” for “fool,” heralds the beginning of the month that T.S. Eliot called the “cruelest,” a time to acknowledge what, in the course of our own dizzying lives, often, escapes us.
Who in this country, for example, one of the richest industrial nations on earth, would suspect there is a cruelty in our midst, an insidious devastation, that is rarely discussed, barely known. While the sobering statistics, the countless losses in jobs, savings and homes, are routinely covered in these economic times, what is rarely mentioned, perhaps because it is so incomprehensible to absorb, is the most basic of losses — food. A loss that is the least visible, but the most powerfully felt.
“Hunger is a whole lot like an iceberg. The mass of it is underwater, invisible — I think nine-tenths of it. And I’ve heard so many people talk about the experience like a glass wall disconnecting them from the rest of the world.”
This is the voice and face of hunger as described by photographer Michael Nye, who spent almost five years traveling the country to collect experiences of hunger that is featured in the current exhibit, “About Hunger & Resilience,” at San Antonio’s Witte Museum.
Nye’s stark portraits of hunger, profiled on NPR eloquently promotes an awareness to that which we know so little. “Once you start listening, you find that it’s really about ourselves,” Nye says. “That it’s not about those people, but it’s about humanity.”
That would be us. You and me. On behalf of humanity and those conscientious bloggers, most especially the founders and dear friends of this Aesthete, Chris from Easy and Elegant Life and Meg from Pigtown Design, who have united us all in this cause to fight hunger, I ask you to look beneath the surface and learn more of what you can do, in the smallest of ways, to lessen this scourge.
As Chris so eloquently put it:
“This Easter weekend at the end of Lent, I’m asking for more than your attention. I’m passing the plate, or hat in my case. I’m asking that you do more, once again.
I’m asking that you contribute at least one dollar (USD$1) to help feed the hungry. Hungry isn’t skipping a meal. Hungry is going to bed hungry, waking up hungry and going to bed that night, hungry again.
This year Feeding America has given April Food day a special link in order to track the good we do. Last year 150 bloggers picked up the cause. This year, please blog about it, tweet about it, add it to Facebook. But whatever else you do, please donate that $1.00. It makes a huge difference.
If you’re reading this in a country other than the U.S.A., please start your own campaign for April Food Day. Let us know and we’ll add the links to the webpage. Hunger knows no bounds. I hope that our combined generosity won’t either.”
In his famous collection, Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, one of the most beloved poet’s and essayist’s in American literature, once urged his fellow citizens, whom he referred to as a “new race of races nurtured in political liberty,” to be “large and generous in spirit.”
What better time than right now, this first day in the month of April, to nurture a life. If immediacy is not your style, the gift of time is; the April Food Day icon will remain on the EA sidebar throughout the month. But consider this: hunger knows not one day from the next; it does not wait.
Photo: Cornfields of Arles, Vincent Van Gogh