Thursday, May 01, 2014

May Day

Where I live in the Southern Hemisphere the first  of May doesn't have the same history attached to it as it does in Europe. There it's an important marker of Spring and has been celebrated in all probability for millennia. From my time in southern England I remember that the real change in season becomes marked about then although officially Spring began in March.

There are signs before then. The daffodils are flowering, having shivered their way out of the still chilly ground back in March, the leaf buds on the deciduous trees are swelling with a hardy few ones already open and beginning to clothe bare branches with a shimmer of green and the hawthorn buds - the hawthorn is the traditional mayflower of Great Britain - are fat and ready to burst into flower. There's no doubt that the weather is warming - the ice covering the fish pond in our garden had thawed after all - but it's May when there's a sudden burst of life. The weather warms, trees don their leafy green gowns, flowers smother previously bare twigs and birds work busily at finishing their new dwellings ready for the next generation. It's no wonder it was a time for fertility rites for centuries.

Here, on the other hand, it's nothing special for most of us, although there are a few small and unofficial May Day marches to mark International Workers' Day on the nearest weekend to May 1. Otherwise, May 1 is fairly uneventful.

We may be well into Autumn - it officially started at the beginning at March - but it's still mostly days warm enough for Pisces to go the beach for a swim and the need to switch from light cotton clothing to light weight jeans and a t-shirt with a sweater in the mornings and evenings. It is changing though. For the last few days, it's stayed cool enough inside to tempt Small Dog and me out to stand in the sun for a while to warm up and chilly enough at night to warrant putting the winter quilt on the bed and even to light the heater for an hour as we begin our slow slide towards winter.


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