Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Happy May Day!

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.

Happy May, everyone! It's May Day!!

When I was a child growing up in Clarion, Iowa, this day was celebrated in such a delightful way that it was one of my favorite holidays. It was not elaborate, but it was special.

We made May baskets, of course!

Our May baskets were nothing fancy. I do not remember beautifully designed cones filled with flowers and homemade candies or anything like that. Mostly we used paper cups with a pipe cleaner for a handle. Then we would fill the cups with a few pieces of candy (somehow butterscotch always comes to mind) and mostly popcorn. A friendly tag, denoting the recipient, was all that remained, and then the fun would begin!

After school we would walk to neighbors houses and my mom would drive us to those places that were too far to walk with our May baskets for the exchanges. It would be fun to arrive at someone's home and exchange baskets with them in person (and, of course, there were exchanges, because all of my friends had made baskets too!), but the real fun was if the friend wasn't home! This was likely, because they were out delivering baskets themselves. So, we would simply leave our basket at their front door... sometimes along with other baskets that had been left there. So, you know what that meant...

There were always baskets waiting at home for us! It was a thrill after our deliveries to arrive home to a porch step filled with many different baskets variously decorated with tags bearing our names and a popcorn and candy snack to sit down and enjoy on the front step on a beautiful Spring day.

I have kept this tradition alive with my own children and they love to participate, even if they come home to nothing on their own front steps. Wherever we have lived, we have celebrated May Day. One year, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there were baskets waiting for us at the home of one of our friends! While they had not adopted the tradition of delivering baskets themselves, they did have some prepared for my girls who could not have been more surprised or delighted.

This year, as our Jacaranda tree is abundant with lavender blossoms, I think we will add a few of those to our cups with a sprig of rosemary from the garden. It's a simple tradition that I am happy not to overlook.

One year, May was a particularly exciting month for me. I was overflowing with creativity and feelings of all things... potential. I was participating in a group that was going through Julia Cameron's, "Walking in This World", and was excited to not only have a long-awaited sequel to her amazing book, "The Artist's Way", but also to be working through it with a group - so much more fun than doing it on your own! I had also recently read, "Anne of Green Gables" for the first time. Spring or perhaps Autumn must be the most perfect times to read this book, as Lucy Maud Montgomery's descriptions of these seasons are breathtaking. She was an obvious lover of nature.

As my sister and her husband got us tickets to a nearby theater performance of "Anne of Green Gables" for this month at Christmas, the girls and I have been reading through it again and it is so easy to get caught up in Anne's romance with the whole world. I highly recommend this book if you have not read it, or even if you have. It is pure, springtime pleasure!

Another favorite for this time of year is the film, "Enchanted April." This is a highly acclaimed film of a number of years ago and is one of the few that I own. I am not a movie collector by any means, but this one was gifted to me one year for my birthday, which was a nice thing, because I usually borrowed it every year anyway from the library. If you are having a particularly rainy spring somewhere or if the up and down temperatures are wreaking havoc with your bursting desire to just be outside, rent or borrow this film. I think you'll be happy you did. It is, as Lottie says in the film, "a tub of love."

Finally, one more idea for your Spring. One year we had a "Beautiful Day." Living in Minnesota, as we did at the time, the weather was often fickle, even in Spring. So one morning, when I knew the outlook was going to be grand, I decided not to waste a moment of it. We packed lunches, a few schoolbooks, and art supplies and took a trip to the nearby Arboretum for our Beautiful Day. We dressed in lovely, flowery clothes and listened to classical music on the way. When we arrived, we first drove around the acres of land on the driving tour to see the various trees greening out or flowering. We drove past the crabapple grove and found people on blankets with their own lunches or snacks, sitting on the ground while white and pink blossoms floated to the ground all around them. It truly was a dreamy scene.

We arrived at our own destination and took our books and supplies to the base of a small waterfall where we had our own lunch, read some of our schoolwork, and sketched the flowers and rocks and stream. It really was a beautiful day! I don't think my children, being as young as they were, have remembered it, but it is one that I cherish and I know we'll plan one again... maybe even next week! I think I've inspired even myself! :)

Finally, I would like to share a poem I wrote on May 2nd of 2003. I hope you enjoy it, and hope you have a lovely, beautiful May Day!

Spring’s First Bouquet

The stark winter trees
are bursting forth
like queen anne’s lace
for the hand of God.

Slowly unwinding
origami winter secret
they delight with a crochet
of green.

How lovely is their leafing
in different shades
of hue.
More subtle than the poppy…
more sedate than rose’s grandeur
each a leaf a small miracle;
a complex, intelligent design
changing light into
sunshine into shade.

O, unfurl your pretty fist!
and sit,
cabbage rose upon the twig.
Tiny chartruse blossom,
break open celadon bud!
Your dappled verdancy splashes the landscape…
Spring’s first bouquet.

- Nicole Pivec
May 2, 2003


Kelli said...

Happy May Day to you too! I enjoyed hearing about your childhood celebrations! I wish we lived closer, we could all exchange little baskets. :0) I loved reading about your "Beautiful Day." What a wonderful idea!

Tara said...

Oh, how lovely! I just loved reading every bit of this post and now have you marked as a favorite. Happy May Day to you and thanks very much for your kind comment at my blog. P.S. I live a little less than 3 hours from your hometown. :-)

Anonymous said...

i have never heard of a mayday tradition - but you have inspired me so much that i wrote it down for next year! what a delightful post. it made my soul all warm and fuzzy. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole,
Thanks for sharing your May Day memories! I remember as a young girl making the construction paper cones (and lots of staples) baskets, decorating them and "filling" them with whatever flowers I could find - usually violets & dandalions and hanging them on the neighbors' door knobs, ringing the door bell and running to hide. It was sooo fun. What a good reminder. I will have to do that with the girls - next year.

I also LOVE your comment about "the beautiful day" in MN. You knew I would understand that one. This year we did have a beautiful day - never mind the gale force winds - lol. You have inspired me!!! May 1st is our wedding anniversary and I think I am going to ask my dh if we can picnic at the MN Landscape Arboretum next year - or wait, maybe we should do that later this month, I esp. like to be there when the lilacs are in full bloom.

Beautiful poem!!! You could really publish your stuff you know. It's very good!

6 Days till we leave for FL. Yippie.

Creative Life Studio said...

Thank you for all the kind comments! I hope you all enjoyed your May Days in their various ways!

Plain Jane, the weather is fabulous here right now! You're going to have a lovely vacation I'm sure. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...