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Hold April!

Despite the shuttle disaster of February, when seven of the best and brightest were scattered like stardust over the Texas sky, there comes this special time of the year in which to restore innocence and uphold the promise of creation.

“Hold April” were the words of the poet Jesse Stuart, who spoke with fervent hope embraced in beholding the glory of rebirth from frozen depths of winter to flowerings of another spring.

Fragile human beings are powerless to hold back termination and resurrection, Jesse taught with passion, his words borne from his W-Hollow heritage in Greenup County. Born in a tiny mountain shack, his birth and youth predated modern highways and consolidated schools, long before astronauts walked on the moon and moved ever closer to rendezvous with Mars.
Hold April, a collection of Jesse’s heart-driven writings, reaches out through time and space to cradle eternity, yearning to orbit beyond mortal defeat to immortal triumph.

Jesse would be full of life or he’d be none. His people have known the twists and turns of Little Sandy with headwaters arising in Elliott, tumbling through Sandy Hook northeast through Carter and Greenup counties.

From out this land, these “dark hills” mirrored with the promise of flowering dogwood, Jesse Stuart emerged. After college he returned home to W-Hollow to become Man With the Bull-Tongued Plow and weaver of The Thread That Runs So True.

Hold April!

Those of us who’ve come to a better understanding of Jesse and ourselves now see that the bloodroot of Kentucky Earth lives on through education–not by rote but by gentle reasoning, not by packaged videotex but by one-on-one teacher to student and parent relationships. What a challenge on this journey through space.

As I revisit Jesse Hilton Stuart (1906-1984), I’m reminded of the need to be one’s self, first and foremost. I don’t wish to be cloned. I wish to be true to myself, and I should want those who follow to stand on shoulders inherited from pioneers who’ve passed down this valley on the way through the cosmos.

Jesse made this notion as clear and pure as highland spring water:

I sing of mountain men, their lives and loves

And mountain waters and the wild-bird cries…

Stuart’s ancestors and mine fought in the American Revolution, on dark and bloody ground before Kentucky was a Commonwealth, furiously on both sides of the Civil War. Then came the feuds, and other barriers to peaceful accord on common ground in nature with perpetual relationship to soil and water.

April is more than troubled weather forecasting. It’s the month of possibilities, stepping forward to meet the new day for pioneers of body, mind, and spirit.

Kentuckians understand the coming of another April, and they have welcomed it. Never mind spring freshets and flash floods, we’ve been well-rooted and watered in the countryside.

The view from W-Hollow to Plum Lick is blue of Texas sky. And now, each one of us–whether we be astronaut or standing earthbound at home–each in our own intuitive way, has a foretaste of glory.

Hold April!

As Jesse might have said, hold April in the cupped hands of a new beginning, and splash it on the face of despair. Know it and love it for what it is, this turbulent passage through eons designed and ruled by the creator of the universe.

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