Saturday, 1 May 2010

Welcome, May

I love May. I love this month, and all this season.

I love the nature of it. The blackthorn, now curling away, burst out last week like stuffing from a pillow. It shouted that Spring is here! and the earth warmed up. My goodness, how quick did I shoo the kids out of doors to take advantage of those bright bluesky days with their living greens and paper whites before I folded those hours away in notebooks and memory albums, along with the thin cotton clothes we briefly wore, to better prepare ourselves: soon there'll be the cold blustery winds back again, before the English rains of early summer.

And the folklore too. I love that. I love the breaking point from winter to spring and the stories that fall out of the crack: old knarled hands and muttering trees, spirits and sprites and foolish young fellows, head-turned by young women whose magic is never as it seems.

For our close and tiny family, it's a month of celebration too, with birthdays and anniversaries coming round like records of long gone glory days. I look forward to silently rehearsing those days every year. I count them, and store up their numbers in defence of the judgement days ahead.

But the date day, May Day, May 1, is best of all. It is that righteous day. The celebration day I was brought up with in working class Nottingham, when it was not a time to weave garlands of drippysippy spring flowers or choose simpering sissy brides, but a day to celebrate bloody minds and brass necks. There was a morality to the day that was unbeatable. It was trade union time and labour movement time - and don't you forget the working class because they make this country what it is. It is time to celebrate endurance and survival and reflect on all the struggles until the cudgels are lifted up again tomorrow in defence of what is ours.

And a bit of me always feels that behind the blackthorn and birthdays and the story place, that this day is still rightfully ours.

Today is a day that families should be yoked together. They should be visible and loud. They should march in stately order, grip hands, take the path past the blackthorn clumps, process by the muttering willow, make their way down to the canal and the park, where they should eat ice cream, watch the Morris dancers, send the kids off to play, fool around on fairground rides, put rats down drainpipes to bash them with bats, then go home grumpy and all falling out. But all of it in solidarity, every bit.


Rachel M. said...

Sounds like so much fun, we always have to work on May day but someday I'm going to take the day off and make a celebration out of it!

sharon said...

A beautiful post Grit. I have been up in the big city (not having fun) hence the silence but am home again now. Time will be somewhat constrained over the coming weeks so blog reading and comments will be hit and miss ;-( Will try to find time to e-mail soon.

Ceri said...

Hubby is from Padstow so we usually celebrate Mayday there - Old Oss forever! We had to miss it this year as the kids were in a dance show; twasn't the same :(

Grit said...

rachel, you need to bring may day to the usa. it may be controversial, but you can do it! start that trend!

hi sharon; hope all is well with you. the door is always open here.

hi ceri! mayday in padstow. i bet there are some excellent local events to be experienced there. i am jealous. go next year and write about it!