While I like the May Day tradition of hanging surprise flowers on neighbors’ doors, I’ve never been into pole dancing — even the old-fashioned kind, with village maidens and men weaving ribbons around a Maypole. Between my five left feet and mild dyslexia, I might wrap myself, my beloved and innocent bystanders like mummies.
Fortunately, this custom no longer holds a central place in spring tradition.
But wild and crazy May bursts with other rituals.
Baby showers bloom on May calendars like tulips. While most guys prefer the pro basketball play-offs, women flock to these events.
Just as well.
Men wouldn’t understand the games — baby food tasting, bottle bowling or stomach-measuring. Guys in my Sunday school class, eavesdropping on our discussion of a baby shower, growled wrathful references to Child Protective Services — till we informed them we played “Throw the Baby” with a baby doll.
Wedding showers also proliferate. But men probably wouldn’t get the design-a-wedding-dress-with-toilet-paper game, either. Nor would they comprehend the thrill we derive from passing around kitchenware.
They don’t realize this is all about new beginnings. Many women have forgotten what it’s like to own toasters that work and dishtowels with recognizable colors. We rejoice in such novel items and the bride’s shiny, brand-new smiles.
Instead, men invent challenges they can’t win: ““Blast! The lawn isn’t growing.”
Whereupon, they apply tons of fertilizer and pray for rain. The grass flourishes, and they complain, “Blast! The lawn’s growing. Have to cut it again.”
They rise from winter easy chairs to wipe out pretty dandelions and violets, the hardiest spring blossoms, and instead, coax flowers that refuse to rise out of bed. They blow budgets on dirt, rocks and … manure.
Proving their rituals are crazy, too.
If May overwhelms with new beginnings, it avalanches with finales.
Education-related events precipitate banquets that explode the calendar. Preschools, grade schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges — all aided by sound systems designed by misanthropes and chicken served in its most unrecognizable forms — distribute tributes and trophies.
Statistics cite May as the month in which ties and control-top pantyhose are worn more than any time of year. After eternal graduation speeches, well-dressed relatives shoot a gazillion fuzzy photos of one special graduate wearing a crooked grin and equally crooked mortarboard.
For the grad and his loved ones, May presents a shifting kaleidoscope of good-byes and fresh dreams.
For me? Breathing in a sweet May morning on my patio, back aching and fingernails dirty from digging into gardens and life, I welcome it all.
Though my five left feet don’t cooperate, my heart can’t help but dance around the Maypole.
Any new beginnings or finales in your May calendar? Are you dancing, too?