Surprised by April and Sharp Turns


By Amanda Cleary Eastep

The ground is confused and awakening groggily, because it is too warm today for December.

All those organisms aroused by the surprise of sunshine and high 40s stir, unaware that their future holds a predicted “swath” of 3-6 inches of snow that will unravel a 3-6 inch ribbon of white across northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.

But I embrace this April imposter. I escape my overheated office to fill my lungs with tepid, wet air and the scents of early Spring that is not.

This unseasonable warmth doesn’t bother me, doesn’t dampen my Christmas spirit. I consider it a gift to walk outside without curling into my own body heat; to feel alive and renewed, as if something worth waiting for is right around corner.



I’ve been feeling expectant lately. Anticipating change does that to a person.

Or it makes you want to close your eyes tight and hold your breath until you pass out until it’s all over.

But I can’t. I am compelled to keep my eyes open on this ride, the kind of roller coaster some sick engineering freak would design on a computer then say, ‘Hey, let’s run this baby in the dark!’

I’m trying to not hold my breath into the new year as we look forward to milestones like college graduations, overseas journeys, and marriages.

Those are the changes we know about and prepare for the best we can.

But what about the dips that await us in the dark?

We are two days past the solstice, and I wait each night for one more bit of light to pierce it like a pin prick. But sometimes in our lives, we feel like we’ll never spy the light at the end of the tunnel.

We turn the sharp corner and don’t find what we expected.

We dive down into black and maybe throw up a little and want to get off, even if that means totally off the track, rolling and crashing as we go.


Let me tell you that hurts like hell. And takes out small children and animals. I should know.

The funny thing is, that after I have insisted on throwing myself off course because I just couldn’t take IT anymore, I realized when I came to that a Strong Arm still held me tight, kept me in my seat, and had never let go.

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