Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Once in the merry month of May, I was in London.  

Nearly twenty years ago now, I visited England while I was taking a class to earn credit towards a degree in English.  I treasure the memories of that time and of that trip.  One event stands out in my mind, and I recall it every May Day.

My professor, and a few of my fellow students and I went to Westminster Abbey.  I was so excited just to be there.  As we walked along the path heading toward this magnificent place, a group of young girls dressed in Victorian looking costumes caught my eye.  

Then I saw a Maypole.  

My memory took me back to the days of my own childhood when we learned to dance around a Maypole in elementary school.

I could scarcely believe that I was actually in England,
walking into Westminster Abbey,
where I caught sight of that long practiced tradition 
of dancing 'round the Maypole in London on the first day of May.

Even by the time my children were in school,
I think the old traditions associated with May Day had long since ceased to be practiced in the U.S.

I remembered with great nostalgia those days when we celebrated May Day by making baskets in school for the May flowers that we would gather to place inside the baskets to leave on a neighbor's doorstep.

Somehow, it just seemed right to gather a few posies together,
even if they were only dandelions,
place them in baskets,
sneak up to the neighbor's porch,
ring the doorbell,
and then
leave the flowers before we ran to hide.

I still remember hiding behind the big lilac tree, 
where we probably got the flowers, 
while we waited to catch sight of Mr. White, 
our neighbor two doors up, 
come to the door to answer the ring.
Seeing no one there,
he stooped down
to gather up the bouquet
 to give to his ancient mother.

I hope your May Day is one that was filled with flowers, 
or perhaps you took the chance to kick up your heels a bit.

From my house to your's,
I'm sending you all a "May Basket" of flowers.
It comes with my very best wishes to you and yours.