I can’t believe it’s already May, friends! I had a whole thing planned for April, with lots of Earth Month goodies, but I had several hurdles last month that kept me from following through, so now we’re just going to have to make it Earth Year (as it should be).
Over the last few weeks, my backyard has been slowly coming back to life, and in just the past few days the jasmine hedges have burst into fragrant flowers, the roses, nasturtiums, calla lilies, irises and ranunculus are blooming, the dogwood has turned pink and clematis are beginning the climb up their trellises. In traditional agrarian societies, this would be the time to put the livestock to pasture and to celebrate the growing light and summer life-force by decorating May Bushes, dancing around May Poles, making flower garlands, choosing a May Queen and lighting Bonfires. The smoke from the bonfires was thought to have protective powers, and bring health and happiness.
When I was a kid, my brother and I would gather flowers from our yard and make little bouquets to deliver to neighbors’ front doors. We’d hide behind a tree until they opened the door and found the flowers. It was all fun until one particularly grumpy neighbor didn’t see the flowers and thought we were playing Ding Dong Ditch, and he chased us off his property. I think that put an end to our May Day shenanigans.
Last year, a friend had a proper Beltane celebration with an actual May Pole, and we did the whole thing, donning our flower crowns and weaving the ribbons around through an intricate dance until the pole was completely decorated. Once we got the hang of it, it was totally mesmerizing, and really quite beautiful.
This year has been a little bit more subdued, since we lost our beloved cat Sadie over the weekend, so we’re just going to do a quiet little fire in our outdoor fireplace and mark this moment in the year. It is said to be a good time to tap into the fertile, creative energies of the earth, and I think I need that now. Happy May Day to you!