May Day is a holiday that celebrates the return of Spring and, yes, it was yesterday, not today.
Do you recall childhood traditions around May Day? Did you dance around other kids to weave colorful ribbons on a decorated pole? Did you make baskets filled with flowers to give as gifts to your family and neighbors?
John F. Kennedy began a tradition of setting aside May as Older Americans Month. I’m not sure if subsequent presidents have continued this tradition, but some states have carried it forward. The purpose of Kennedy’s original proclamation was “ … to pay tribute to our Senior Citizens for the many ways they strengthen our Nation. Our country is blessed by their compassionate acts, the wisdom of their experiences, and the patriotism they demonstrate.” I like Kennedy’s words and sentiment but feel slightly skeptical that many Americans give it much thought these days.
Even though May Day, isn’t a national or state holiday, a lot of celebrating of the renewal of life happens on May 1st and throughout the month.
Celebrate or Prepare For?
Do you get festive and celebrate the warming days in May and the new growth and blossoming flora all over our neighborhoods? If you’re like me, the abundance of gorgeous blossoms brings a week or two of sneezing, watering eyes, and an itchy nose. I’ll take it though, it’s worth it. It’s worth taking a moment to come out of days and days of grayness with the threat of rain and blustery weather into warm sun on my face and a restorative sunspot on the carpet for my kitty, Kali, to soothe her arthritic limbs.
Are you less celebratory and more preparing for these days with warmer weather, increased traffic on the roads and in places we frequent during the winter — places we like to think of as belonging to us … like grocery stores, parks, theaters, and restaurants, especially during the week? Do you begin to prepare for the possibility of harsh hot winds that can whip up fires anywhere, anytime? Do you prepare a To Go bag and make sure there’s fresh water and food to take away if you must transport a pet to a safer location? I know I do.
I avoid letting the preparations for the unknown overshadow the celebration of the new, most of which beauty appears just outside my apartment. People, as well as nature, seem to expand and feel renewed. We get to put heavy coats and wooly socks away (and hope they still fit when we retrieve them in the fall!) and make room for sleeveless, lightweight, and shorter dresses, pants, and skirts. My bare legs now are comically white, but in a month or so, the sun will have smiled on them, and I won’t be so embarrassed for others to see them. Suntanned legs and arms, as well as all parts of our bodies look healthier with a little color, even though our doctors and others remind us of the dangers of too much sun on our skins. Yes, it’s always something as we get older. That’s okay, I’ll get just a little and love every ounce of it.
Me and May
I’ll operate in a happier mode and be more open to new things. I’ll splurge on some colorful perennials to dot my patio that will make me smile as I look beyond Kali on her sunspot at the open door.
May isn’t a big thing; it’s not an official holiday, but it still spreads a lot of joy. These days, I’m always looking for places to find joy, especially ones that don’t cost on any level. There’ll still be fires, hot, windy days, mishaps, and friends leaving, but just for today — and hopefully for longer than that – I’ll celebrate May Day and all the days that remind me I’m alive with a bounty of love and living to do.