Good Catholic girl that I am, I grew up making and delivering May Day baskets, twining brightly colored garlands, and plotting my revenge on any other girl daring to cast her eye on the Queen of May Day’s glittery crown. I was all about becoming Queen, even back then. As I look out on my back yard, heavy with dew this morning, I am awash in visions of brightly colored hanging baskets, pots full of pansies, and any other living thing harkening the arrival of spring. A bit of plant shopping is in my immediate future.
While the ancient fertility rites associated with May Day have long faded away, today I contemplate the beauty of fertility, the promise of new life, and the comfort of nature’s lush spring colors. This notion of fertility has me thinking of ways I can breathe new life into old relationships, by sharing modern May Day baskets with those around me. First stop: my kitchen.
Today I am strengthening cherished friendships with the nutrients of time and a great meal shared around my kitchen counter. What says ‘renewal’ better than a latke Reuben sandwich, with a dark chocolate and bacon cupcake chaser? A cardinal hopped around my roof as I hatched this plan to usher in the month of renewal, as if to heartily endorse my own version of a fertility rite.
So for the entire month of May, I am going to reach out to a different person every day, with my own version of a secret May Day Basket—just for them. It could be as simple as an unexpected phone call; a card dropped in the mail; a spur of the moment lunch invitation. Fertility can surprise you, and I trust new ideas and avenues of spreading love and joy to others will reveal themselves as I walk blindly forward in my vision of encouraging a new person each day.
One of May Day’s ancient traditions involved washing one’s face with the dew off the grass early in the morning on this day. It was believed that this ritual brought radiance, youthful appearance, and renewed beauty to those who believed. Today I believe in the power of renewal through reaching out to love and serve those around me. It strikes me that my simple little celebration of fertility aligns nicely with my lifelong goal of obedience to The One Most High, as defined by His two greatest commandments:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
Now go get your own May Day on! I’d love to hear your ideas of ways to inspire new life around you this month.
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