05.01.16 It’s been looking like May flowers around town and everyone is saying that the greens have never looked brighter. We had every kind of weather in April, beginning with the long string of sunny days and temperatures twenty degrees above normal, then the dramatic lightning storm one Friday night, followed by inches and inches of rain, then fog and mist and gentle April showers. I think we had more fires going in the fireplace than we did in March, yet one evening we ate on the porch. Every day, there’s been something new to see that wasn’t there yesterday, like the purple Virgin’s Bower now wrapping herself delicately around selected trees in our forest. “Every spring is the only spring–a perpetual astonishment” said Ellis Peters.
May 1st is a cross-quarter day on the Celtic calendar–the midway point between spring and summer. Called “Beltane,” it’s when the cows were let out to pasture, maidens rolled around in the Hawthorn trees, people jumped over bonfires for good luck, baskets of flowers were delivered to shut-ins, and the community danced around the maypole in unity. Spring, ‘a perpetual astonishment’ indeed. But, like everything in life, it won’t be a linear progression from spring to summer. Robert Frost describes it perfectly:
“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”