Remember that old saying about April showers bringing May flowers? Well as we begin this new month of May, I find myself thinking a lot about those May flowers. The first of May or “May Day” is not really celebrated very widely in the US. My husband and I lived in Germany for 3 years and “Maitag” is quite a thing there. Maypoles are erected and spring is celebrated. And you just might wake up to a surprise basket of flowers on your doorstep. I always loved those springtime traditions.
Just this weekend, my husband and I planted some gorgeous new roses in our front yard. I’ve never been much of a gardener and my thumb is very far from being green. In fact, my houseplants commit suicide on a regular basis. But I was amazed by how happy the process of planting these roses made me. I guess it’s no wonder, I paint flowers all the time and I love that look of women with flowers in their hair. The fluttery, fragile qualities of flowers make them so ethereally beautiful.
May has always been my favorite month of the year mainly because it’s my birthday month. But also because I have wonderful childhood memories of May. When I was a little girl going to Catholic school, we had this unique tradition called the “May Crowning”. I’m not exactly sure of the detailed origins of it, all I remember is that it was this beautiful Catholic ritual of crowning Mary the Queen of Heaven and Earth. The best part is that there was a lovely ceremony where one lucky girl was chosen to place a crown on the head of an enormous statue of the Virgin Mary. It was such an honor and all the girls got to leave their uniforms behind and wear their best spring dresses. Those memories warm my heart.
Our new rose garden really touched my heart too for some reason. I sat and looked at those velvety coral roses for an unusually long time this weekend. I was so taken with them. I put one in my hair and vowed to put flowers in my hair more often. It made me think of that scene in The Color Purple where Shug Avery says, “I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” Beauty is meant to be noticed. And nature has so much beauty to offer.
This May Day, I think we should all treat ourselves to some flowers. Celebrate spring. Appreciate beauty. Flowers have a way of touching your soul if you let them. Happy happy May Day!!