May Day

I sorry guys, I know you’re waiting for pictures of the Nashville and Lexington events, and I’ll get there. I will.

Today though, is May Day.

May Day is a fond holiday in this family. In fact, if you mention May Day to my mother, she will be happy to tell you (you likely won’t be able to stop her) that she was a May Queen. She may also give you some instructions on dancing a Maypole, or leaving a posy for a secret love, and she will undoubtedly lament the loss of this tradition in what is truly becoming an uncivilized world.

The winter is dark and long and, at least in this province, has a variable ending. April can be bitterly cold or wonderfully balmy (usually they alternate to try and crush your soul), but no matter how April goes, May the first will hold some promise of true, verdant warming spring. Tulips, buds and new leaves on trees, some wonderful hint of the beautiful summer to come. May Day is a wonderful celebration of youth and spring and promise.


It is also Janine’s birthday, a bonus that made May Day an occasion never overlooked in our family. She died in the Autumn, and it made so much sense that when she left, the world turned grey and the green went out of it and everything died or slept without her.

Suddenly today I find the sure and bright return of spring almost galling. How dare the planet continue without her, as though nothing has happened? How dare there still even be a May Day? I am almost ashamed to admit that somewhere inside, some childish, nonsensical part of myself may have thought that a May Day without Neen was impossible. That she would come back, like all of the roses and the tulips and the trees. It is not the shock of her death that I find overwhelming, but the permanence.


I know that grief is like this. With ebb and flow and good days and bad days, and that this first birthday we celebrate without her will be the one that stings the most, and that eventually I will be able to celebrate May Day and Janine with the joy that I used to. Today though, is not that day, and I’m going to be a little kind to myself. I’ll walk in the park. I’ll reconcile myself to the pussywillows. I’ll knit and watch the earth wake up and I’ll look for what comfort I can in the stunning way that no matter who leaves, Spring comes.