Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Lovely Month of May!

Today is May Day!

A day to take a break from heavy thinking and rejoice in the middle of spring.

Here is where the sun rose today at our house--it is rising north of east, about half-way to its farthest point north of rising. The days are still getting longer!

May Day is a cross-quarter day--coming roughly half-way between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. In the Old Calendar, this is Beltane--the beginning of summer, when the goddess is manifest in the form of the maiden, the promise of life. In Christian Europe, this month is dedicated to the Virgin, again, as the promise of life.

The closest Jewish holiday is Lag b'Omer, the 33rd day of the the counting of the omer--a measure of barley--which is coming up this Sunday. It is also a moment of rejoicing in the middle of the ancient barley harvest. Stay tuned for more!

Here is a picture of the sunrise on the Vernal Equinox. By comparing this with the picture above, you can see that the sun is now rising well to the left of where it rose on the first day of astronomical spring for the northern hemisphere.

The passing of the seasons of our lives happens so quickly and our lives are so fleeting that seems important to stop this day and enjoy this moment!

When I was a child growing up in Illinois, all of these small holidays were marked in school.

Throughout the elementary years, we would make May baskets on May Day--weaving them out of many bright colors of construction paper strips, and staple on handles. On the way home from school, we would pick flowers that bloomed so abundantly--violets, lilac, sweet clover, and dandelions--and put them in the May baskets. We would then hang these baskets on neighbors door-handles, ring the bell and run away. When they opened their doors, our neighbors always acted as if they didn't know who could possibly have given them this beautiful gift, exclaiming loudly over the beauty of the spring baskets, so they could be heard over our giggles, as we hid around the corner of the porch.

I think something precious has been lost--some connection to the turning of the seasons and to community--now that May Day is no longer celebrated by children in schools. At least, it does not happen here anymore.

So today, to celebrate May Day, we took pictures of the flowers blooming in our meadow. Here, in the high desert mountains of New Mexico, the real wildflower season comes in August. But when we get rain in the spring, we do get some flowers peeping shyly through the grasses in mid-spring.

So here are some dandelions. Above are some flowers from the pea-family that are purple. Here I do not see violets or white clover. In a few weeks the evening primroses will be out. We will see lots of sunflowers and penstamon, and yellow clover later in the summer. If we go to the top of the Sandias we will even see the beautiful columbine, up against the limestone rock face, in the shade, where it likes to hide.

Happy May Day!


Kaber said...

be back to read a bit later--- wanted to respond real quickly here.... I forgot to link to info about Manuel- the link is:

he's not my son, but a boy from Honduras here on a medical visa. He was burnt in Homduras.


Megan Bayliss said...

Hey E
what a cute tradition - the flowers in baskets for neighbours. What a shame its no longer celebrated.
I agree that the passing of the seasons appears accelerated. I am trying to slow my life down: to actually fully experience and enjoy the nature around us. It just seems plain wrong that we live in such a beautiful place and we're too busy to take it all in!!!!
So....I record here more for my own challange - this season I will share (daily) our nature with one other person. This could be a hand picked bunch of tropical blooms, a photo of the beauty that abounds, or a picnic on the beach with a visitor.
Thank you E. You always remind me to live life, not just watch it.