Friday, May 1, 2009

The First of May, Two-Thousand and Nine: A Moment in Flight


In May that lusty season
To gather the flowers
Down by the meadow's green
A bird, it sang on every sight so merrily
It joyed my heart

(A chant from Renaissance England)

May Day. I need to write something in its honor. This particular May began cool and overcast in the tender grays of spring. By now the sky is blue and against it the year’s new buds glow the brightest green. In my own yard lilac and boxwood, red twig, apple, cherry, plum and oak push and their new leaves out, like wings flapping open and shut as they unfurl from within themselves under the big star. The air is alive with birdsong, and if I had time to pay attention—just a handful of days culled from all of my years--for perfect stillness, I know I would learn to tell time by their songs, by the opening and closing of flowers, by the streaming and gliding positions of the leaves of the trees. Is it so much to ask?
In kindergarten our teacher taught us to honor this day by teaching us to weave baskets from strips of colored construction paper. We stapled construction paper handles to the baskets and drew and cut out construction paper flowers that we pasted together and put in the baskets. Then we took such joy in walking through the halls of the school and hanging them on classroom doors. We took them home for our mothers. I don’t remember the teacher’s name—Mrs. Hellewig?—but I have never forgotten the day. Bless her. Bless any teacher that has her brood spend a whole afternoon in the deep and nurturing concentration it takes to weave a basketful of flowers.

Cookoo, as I mee walked in a May morning I heard a bird sing!
(Another chant from Renaissance England)

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