Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy May Day

Gerard_Van_Spaendonck_Bouquet As a little girl, my younger brother and I would walk to the surrounding forests and collect wildflowers on the first morn of May. Lilies of the valley, trilliums, phlox, assorted sweet violets, wild roses, Virginia bluebells, spring beauties, Dutchman's-breeches and trout-lilies were lovingly and carefully collected from Nature's bounty for our Mother and Grandmother. Always mindful to not strip or over pick an area or grouping, we'd walk for hours breathing in deeply the scent of mouldering oak and maple leaves as the ground warmed through the forest's canopy. We traversed the same ground the Native Americans walked many years before. We innately appreciated the wild world due to our constant exposure to it. We blissfully coursed the woods, meadows and swamps without fear of human caused danger.

Once back home, we'd arrange our wildflower bouquets and place the flowers on our front porch. Then the show began. We'd knock on the door and run away to the side of the house to hide. My Mother put on a good production of acting surprised upon seeing the breathtaking token of love on the porch. She'd shower us with hugs and kisses after we jumped out into the open. My Mother then drove us to her Mother's house and the scene would be re-enacted for her benefit. Such was our May Day tradition. Sadly, wikipedia states the tradition of anonymously leaving May baskets has faded since the 20th century.

We also left smaller bouquets on doorsteps of friendly neighbors or the elderly. I miss those times. I miss the forests. I really miss the forest's spring wildflowers.

My May Day gift basket to you is a free poetry book entitled May Day with the Muses by Robert Bloomfield, which can be downloaded at Project Gutenburg, a wonderful source of literature in the public domain.

To introduce yourself or your children to May Day, here are some books you may find if shopping locally at your neighborhood independent bookseller. These also can be found on the net from a worldwide indie by searching by author and/or title at Bookfinder or ADDALL.

The Romantics and the May Day Tradition
by Joshua, Essaka
Beltane by Raven Grimassi
On The Morn Of Mayfest by Erica Silverman
Little Grey Rabbit's May Day by Alison Uttley
The Rainbow Tulip by Pat Mora
And, a beautiful music selection:
Beltane: Songs for the Green Time (CD) by Jaiya

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