“When April steps aside for May, like diamonds all the rain drops glisten, fresh violets open every day, and to some new bird each hour we listen.”
The month of May is a time of great celebrations in the northern hemisphere, a time when beautifying flowers emerge, green grass erupts, deciduous trees bud, and crops begin to sprout. Traditionally in Britain, as in most countries of Western Europe, May 1 marked the end of the harsh winter, welcomed the beginning of summer, andanticipated the bright productive months. May Day, also known as Garland Day, was a major annual festival commemorated with music, dancing around maypoles, and games. As aptly written by Virgil, the ancient Roman poet: “Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire.”
May, originally the third month of the year in the Roman calendar,consisted of 31 days. It became the fifth month when January and February were added to the Julian and Gregorian calendars. May is named after the Greek goddess Maia, who is also identified with the Roman goddess of fertility, Bona Dea. May’s birth flower is the Lily of the Valley, and its birthstone is the emerald, which I find so symbolic with its deep rich colour representing the perennial greening of the landscape.
The merry month of May is filled with special dates, month-long observances, and celebrations, with Mother’s Day on the second Sunday being one of the more notable. For years, my daughter (born May 10th) and I would jump into my Prelude, the vehicle of choice I’ve now driven for over 30 years, and exit to the Rocky Mountains for an annual mother/daughter getaway. As soon as the majestic peaks came into view, we invariably opened the sun roof, started our favourite recording of The Last of the Mohicans, and soared with the music. Oh, what joy, what freedom, what sublime communion with the universe! Needless to say, she was far from pleased when her dad and I purchased our RV, which is too large for me to drive, and initiated our pattern of leaving the city at the beginning of the month. Still, since she has long been an adult, she has come to accept my yearning to find the peace and serenity of the mountains and to celebrate her birthday before our departure.
Perhaps, because of a winter that wasn’t, and then an early warm spring, I was eager to escape to our mountainous retreat by the picturesque St. Mary’s River in Kimberley even before May arrived. My desire to return to this tranquil haven every spring,where I feel surrounded by the presence of God, is to become immersed in nature and to rejuvenate my soul. I have always been heartened by the seasonal rebirth, and I have so often pondered that since renascence perpetually happens in the natural world, how could it not for the human spirit? As I enjoy the profusion of wildflowers in full bloom on the side of Sunflower Hill, which is a definite misnomer, the bald eagles gliding in the breeze overhead, the pristine blue sky, and the verdant countryside, I always feel a profound sense of fulfillment and of inner peace. “The world’s favourite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” –Edwin Way Teale
To every mother, enjoy your special day, and to all, may you experience the fulfillment of May.