"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."
--Edwin Way Teale
It is the softness of May weather, its quiet gentleness, which most comforts me after such a long, cold, snowy winter. The warm breezes which gently stir the wind chimes on the back porch. The surprise of the first really hot day when it is finally safe to wear a t-shirt again. Our bodies almost forget the sensation of warming sun on cool skin. The sponginess of the soil which gives way easily to a spade, as you plant the first annuals of the year, bright purple and shocking yellow pansies. So…welcome back May. Welcome. Come right in and please, stay awhile. We thought you might never return.
For now forty five days into the spring, Mother Nature in this part of the world has finally lost some of her sharper edges and settled in. Finally. No more even remote possibility of snow and that’s a gift, given that the winter of 2010-11 was a doozy, 80 inches of the white stuff, double the normal amount. Wasn’t a record (that would be 106 inches in 1995-96) but come late February it sure felt like it might never, ever stop snowing. (A caveat: on June 17th, 1952 it did actually snow in Boston but let’s not even go there.) The last pile of dirty brown snow is gone and this feels liberating, amazing. Remember last January when driving down streets felt like an amusement park ride on “The Snow Tunnel”, gargantuan snow banks everywhere? Then it was almost impossible to imagine the return of songbirds to the backyard, of lush green lawns resurrected. So right now, let’s just enjoy a May moment, a May interlude, a May pause.
Not sure why it feels like it took so long for spring to be born again. As a person of faith I know the lateness of Passover and Easter didn’t help much. Lent seemed to go on ad infinitum. Easter 2011 was April 24th, one day less than the absolute latest it can possibly occur. It all has to do with pesky nature again, in this case the lunar calendar. But no worries: we won’t sing in Easter on April 25th until 2038. Or maybe spring feels delayed because of the pathetically slow start of the Boston Red Sox. What’s the best way to curse the Olde Towne team? Pick them to win the World Series as many sports writers did just a month ago. Today on this second day of May, the Sox are a 12-15, dead last in the AL East. Their new $140 million whiz kid outfielder Carl Crawford is batting .168—ouch! Seems like old times.
But here’s the real May miracle. This time of year all things seem possible, anything seems as though it just may happen. Summer is knocking on the door. Students stare out windows at the blossoming cherry and apple trees and fantasize about long days and cool nights soon to come. “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.” The single and seeking among us reawaken to the possibility of love. What better month than May to be smitten, to have your heart soar, to fall into romance? Families sit at table with the summer calendar open, planning out the lazy and restful vacation days which will be here soon. What will it be this year? June by the sea. July in the mountains. August in a backyard hammock, grilling away and sipping an ice cold beer. If May had an emotion it would be hope.
So we dust off the golf clubs and dream of endless pars. We tune up the bicycle and imagine pedaling a century or farther. We roto-till the garden and as the sweet smell of turned soil envelops us, we imagine an abundant crop of shiny red tomatoes and glistening golden corn. Oh May, please just linger here for a bit. Keep us in this place of anticipation, of new life pushing back the old, of sunshine pushing back the dark, of winter finally giving up and going away for a long, long time.
So thank you God for May. For hope. For anticipation. For renewed life. For love. For resurrection. For spring. Just today, this one beautiful May day, it is all good. (P.S.—if you could help the Sox that would be great too!)