On the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, just outside the south side door to Howell Hall, lies a lovely, bricked patio, sunken two steps below the level of the green lawn on the north quad, called McCorkle Place. Faculty members and students gravitate to the space to perch on its low wall and eat their lunch, study, and contemplate the beauty of this spot that offers respite from the stresses of university life.
Banks of azalea flank the space and embrace a few small trees. When April comes, they are in bloom, and one is challenged to find a more beautiful spot.
The late Charles Kuralt, award-winning newsman with CBS, graduated from this university. A native of coastal Wilmington, N.C., he fell in love with Chapel Hill and this lush campus the moment he set foot on it as a freshman. In his 38 years with CBS, he traveled the world in search of interesting people and their stories, which he shared in his incomparable down-home style. He saw many places, it’s fair to say, but none more beautiful than Chapel Hill in April when the whole town is ablaze with azalea and flowering trees. No fun for pollen sufferers but so beautiful.
April. Irresistible to poets and songwriters.
Here is Thomas Morley in his 16th century madrigal believed to have been based on the work of the Italian baroque poet Livio Celiano:
April is in my mistress’ face,
And July in her eyes hath place;
Within her bosom is September,
But in her heart a cold December.
From a later time, here’s “I’ll Remember April,” a love ballad favored by big bands and their vocalists, written by Don Raye, Gene De Paul, and Patricia Johnston:
This lovely day will lengthen into evening..
We’ll sigh goodbye to all we ever had.
Alone where we have walked together,
I’ll remember April and be glad.
I’ll be content you loved me once in April.
Your lips were warm and love and spring were new.
I’m not afraid of autumn and her sorrow,
For I’ll remember April and you.
The fire will dwindle into glowing ashes,
For flames live such a little while. I won’t forget but I won’t be lonely,
I’ll remember April and smile.
[lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, The Hub Music Company, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.]
True to the popular saying, March is making its exit like a lamb. This Sunday, Easter, we will turn the calendar page, and April will be here.