What potent blood hath modest May,
What fiery force the earth renews,
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues;
What joy in rosy waves outpoured
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, “May-Day”
It’s Beltane again, and the world is warming; though here in North America the winter held on right into April and another chill is expected across much of the continent tonight, that seems to have daunted humans far more than the plants and animals, which (around here, at least) have been behaving just as one expects them to in April. The grass turned green again, flowers are everywhere, birds are singing and insects are buzzing. Mind you, I’m not terribly happy about that last; May and June are the two worst months for flies, ticks and chiggers where I live, so from now until the end of August I don’t dare set foot outside without rubbing insect repellant on my shins and feet. And though I prefer skirts to jeans, that simply won’t work in the summer unless I’m going straight from house to car; the nasty little parasites will climb up the inside of a skirt, then right onto my repellant-free pelvis. Ugh!
May is also the time when we shear our long-haired animals so they’ll be comfortable for the summer; I won’t do it until I’m sure the cold is gone, but it will have to be fairly soon. If it’s done too late they won’t have time to re-grow their coats by winter, but if it’s done too early their hair will be long again by the Dog Days, always the hottest and most miserable time of year. But May is usually lovely; as I’ve said before, spring is my second-favorite time of year after autumn, not only for the gorgeous colors but also because I love warm (not hot) days and cool (not cold) nights, and that’s the typical pattern around here from April to June and September to October.
May Day is largely a forgotten holiday; thought it was once rich in tradition, it was stolen from the old pagan gods and goddesses by the followers of one of the modern secular religions (though that one, too, has died in its turn). But these are autumnal thoughts, and not suitable for lusty May; go forth, enjoy the day in whatever way suits you best, and remember that in less constipated times, this was a day to celebrate Nature’s gift of sex.