May exploded in Cheltenham over the weekend. After a cold, wet April with temperatures well below average, two days with sun and temperatures in the 70s came as a joy. We moved my trays of tomatoes and broccoli to the patio with some trepidation, prepared to drag them back inside if faced with lows in the 30s, heavy rain, or wind as we had last week. The lettuce is up and carrots are going in today. So are the onions, and they should be out already.
Actually, it may surprise you that I have not generally been a fan of May. The precious few days of nearly perfect weather always call to me. I long to be out hiking or just sitting, glass in hand, to enjoy. Those days, however, have often been swamped by obligations and responsibilities in the past.
To begin with, my family has always had more than its share of May birthdays, depending on which grandparents were still with us and which in-laws had married in during any given era. My own comes on the very last day of the month, and, while it often got swamped by Memorial Day Weekend, it was always celebrated.
Early month, Mother’s Day, which always seems like a great idea, arrives. It can indeed be lovely. It can also bring some conflicted feelings in the attempt to honor mothers in more than one set of in-laws, more than one generation, or more than one household. My own mother had firm ideas about her due, and the proper way to celebrate. There was no room for compromise on that point. My children always began the day with greetings and snuggles. Afternoon sometimes didn’t go as well.
As the month goes on, the demands multiply. Every mother knows the end of a school year brings a flood of projects, concerts, sports, award banquets, teacher gifts, and, of course graduations. With three busy kids, we had our share. Since I married into a family that has presented me with over 90 nieces, nephews, greats and great-greats every year also brought first communions, graduations and weddings in waves.
I started this post with my garden. If you’ve read my biography, or followed me for long, you know I love gardens, but I am not so fond of gardening. If I’m to have tomatoes in July, flowers to admire, and more to cut and put in vases, garden I must. Sunday, for example, I weeded and pruned. I never did get that walk in, and the day of perfect weather slipped by. That, in a nutshell, is May!
In recent years, even without Covid-19 quarantine, May his a bit quieter and more contemplative. After decades of rushing through it with gritted teeth and determination, I’ve begun to be able to stop and smell the coffee, if not always the roses. One joy is discovering the depths of this part of the liturgical year. I used to be all struggle through Lent, sing alleluia its Easter, and BANG. Done. While I could name the feasts that follow after, I didn’t really appreciate them. It’s a abundance of riches, among which my favorites are Good Shepherd Sunday, Pentacost (who doesn’t like wind and tongues of fire), and the pièce de la résistance, Corpus Christi. Ever since a trip to Italy in which we celebrated it twice, once on the top of Monte Casino it has been a favorite. Taken as a group it is powerfully beautiful.
SIGH. Meanwhile work at my desk goes on. You may have seen Music on the Waters on First Kiss Friday. It’s a lovely excerpt. Do you Instagram? Watch for me in a Historical Romance Instagram Hop at the end of the week. That’s a new experience for me. You can find me on Instagram as CaroWarfield. Watch for #instagramhop #historicalromance. There will be prizes!
And yes, work on The Wayward Son continues, but at slower pace than I care to admit. Onward! It is just as well I plan to stay quarantined. But first, coffee.