Thomas Tusser, an English poet in the 1500s, wrote “Sweet April showers do spring May flowers.” I’m sure many of our northern neighbors are waiting for those flowers, a sure sign that spring has finally arrived! Meanwhile we don’t have to wait. Spring comes early in Florida and many plants bloom ahead of schedule.
One common flower we often see is the creeping ground phlox. Roadsides are full of them. They appear in late February and can linger into May. Their notable pink hues are one reason we call April 5th a Pink Full Moon. It will appear full for several nights in a row between April 4-6th.
April’s moon is also called the Paschal Full Moon because it’s the first of spring and the first full moon before Easter. In fact the timing of the vernal equinox (first day of spring) and its subsequent full moon determines just which Sunday we celebrate Easter. This year Easter will be on April 9th.
Then, between April 16-25 we have the Lyrid meteor showers; they are one of the oldest recorded. With any luck we may spot some 15-20 meteors per hour. You will have a chance to see the shower increase as the night progresses, between 2-4 am is the best time for viewing the shower. The meteors radiate from the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra.
What are The April Lyrids? This meteor shower is caused by small debris exiting from the Comet Thatcher. Comet crumbs really, burning up as they enter earth’s atmosphere; they visit us every year in April. Expect them to peak on the night of April 22. This is a good night to see meteors, there’s also a thin crescent moon at sunset.
April 22nd is more than just meteors. It’s also important because it’s Earth Day. This annual idea began in 1970 to raise awareness about the environment. Now some 193 countries recognize Earth Day. They hold various events and join us in protecting our natural resources for future generations.
What can you do for the environment? There are simple things like picking up litter or bringing your reusable shopping bags to the store. You can also practice the three R’s——Recycle, Reduce and Reuse. The theme for 2023 is “Invest In Our Planet.”
Finally, in April the planet Venus does not disappoint. It’s the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and our moon. Currently it’s our “evening star,” visible brightly in the west for a few hours after sunset. It will be this way until early August when Venus’ orbit takes it behind the sun and out of sight for about 50 days.
Another version stemming from that old English poem of the 1500s is very familiar to us. It goes “April showers bring May flowers.” I like the extended meaning ……after adversity the good times will follow. Yes there comes discomfort in our lives, but there also follows joy and happiness. It‘s an endless cycle, much like one followed by our Pink Full Moon.