It’s almost May. My Facebook is filled with photos of my Pagan friends in flower crowns. Many of them celebrated Beltane (the May Day festival – see last year’s post) over the weekend. Somehow I’m still a month behind. I’m about ready for dyed eggs and daylight savings time. I suspect our crazy weather has something to do with that.
Seasonal celebrations are always a conundrum in this climate. It’s not THAT unusual to still have bits of snow on the ground (in the shade) at this time of year. Usually though we’ve at least had a week’s worth of HINTS that spring is coming. The latest ice out date (before this year) on the Twin Cities lakes was April 28 in 1965. This year it has just been cold and snowy.
Then suddenly we finally have had almost a week of warm weather. Unseasonably warm. Almost like we skipped spring altogether and moved straight into summer. A few weeks back you got a post with last year’s daffodils, up in late March early April. This year I’m grateful to see buds on the Hyacinths this morning.
Beltane is a celebration of the blooming flowers, the burgeoning spring. Those flower crowns are supposed to be made of wildflowers plucked at dawn in the morning dew. Our last frost is usually somewhere between May 1-10. In spite of our summery weekend, this year promises at least one more of those “iffy” nights. So we greet the May, which in Minnesota is the month of planting.
The rule of thumb I grew up with “Tomatoes don’t go into the ground until Memorial Day weekend.” The most optimistic of us will plant a few things early “just in case”. We might get lucky and then we’ll have a bounty. I don’t have anything, even peas, in the ground yet. We had a foot of snow on the ground a week ago. The yard is muddy and there are puddles of standing water because the earth underneath isn’t warm enough yet to take on that much moisture.
The way that we can be sure it’s May is that this coming weekend is the May Day Parade. The extravaganza is put on every year by the neighborhood around Powderhorn Park and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. There is usually some kind of geo-political theme (in honor of the political associations with May Day). Often it’s something like what’s happening with our water, or genocide in Africa, or global warming. These are far reaching themes and ultimately are eco-centric.
The Pagan elements of the day are also honored. The parade marches into the park and ends with a performance where all seems lost. Then the crowd is roused into calling forth the sun. The sun rises on an island in the middle of the lake and is ferried across in a canoe flotilla where it is welcomed and celebrated. Usually the flotilla is led by the family of ducks who make there home on the lake. Often the sun pops out from behind a cloud at the same moment the sun is raised on the island. It’s truly a magical celebration of spring.
Month behind or not, I’m ready to welcome spring. I’m almost eager to wait for Orion’s bus outside in the mornings. I’m itchy to dig in the dirt, even if all I manage is outdoor pots. I’m ready to see the flowers in bloom. Welcome the Sun!