May Day

Mornings begin early. The dawn is a lazy, blue-white light that filters through the blinds and etches out the angles and deeper shadows of our room. The birds have already been awake for some time, singing their song to welcome the day and their chorus growing louder with each tendril of light that reaches the land. But the human world remains quiet, asleep, beside the bang of a garbage truck or the rumble of a car starting.

The air slipping through the cracked window reminds us that winter hasn’t passed that long ago. Cool, a steel-kiss to bare skin that forces us under blankets, so it clings to our hair and we carry it out of the room when the light of day has finally roused us from our sleep.

During the depths of winter, we barely had any sunlight touch the interior of our home. For a handful of months, it would pass the edge of our windows, glinting on the sill, before moving along the horizon through the short day to do much the same in our western facing windows by ate afternoon. But May has brought a different sun that climbs over the land and shines straight across our kitchen, through the entry, and onto the floor of the living room where it warms the wood and highlights specks of dust dancing in the air.

The birds are well into their day now as they rush about for worms and bugs to bring to their noisy babies in nests built into old dryer vents in the apartments above but we are only sipping just-made coffee, our fingers dancing over the mug to escape its heat, and blinking rapidly to rid our eyes of sleep.

Morning goes fast in May and suddenly the sun is high, the last lingering chill of morning is stepping into the shaded woods, and lunch is eaten quickly so we can go outdoors all the faster. We walk in the sunshine and under the shade of passing clouds and inspect each new leaf that brightens bare tree limbs and guess what plant has sprouted from the ground overnight. I try to memorize the plants, adding them to the list of what I have learned and the flowers I would like to own one day in my own little yard.

May is the month for planning gardens that are not yet obtainable but are bright and perfect in my mind. As we pass by the many yards with flower and vegetable gardens I’ll note under my breath to my son, “that’s the start of strawberries, that looks like a rosebush, maybe that’s honeysuckle–I can’t wait for you to smell honeysuckle, it’s my favorite scent.”

Our walk passes into mid afternoon and a nap comes quickly for the littlest family member and I recline on the couch with my creative pursuits at hand. May is the awakening of the written word, May is where dreams built during winter begin to take shape.

The sun slowly slips through the western windows, gently laying across the couch and brushing its fingertips against the wall to run along the edge of each picture frame. The heat of the day is fully upon us and the breeze feels warm on bare skin. Dinner is calling to be prepared and I slip away from the sunbeams and step into the kitchen where the light from earlier in the day has disappeared and left the room cool and dim.

I cut through vegetables that are store bought and think of the vegetables that will have the warmth of the sun still in them that are only just beginning to grow in the fields. In another month, I’ll make weekly trips to pick up the freshly harvested vegetables and we will eat them with glee. But for now, it’s produced material from far off farms to feed the bellies of my family.

When dinner is ready, the baby is awake, and my husband is done with work, the sun is a spotlight on our living room floor and the cats stretch over it, trying to reach all corners of the light and warm their furry bodies. They have missed the sun, perhaps more than I have, and seem to happily refuel on the light each evening.

When bedtime arrives for my son, the sunshine is still bright and shining into his room. The blackout curtains work hard to keep it at bay but a May sun is too joyful and won’t allow anything to stand in its way. Its happiness seems to spread, even causing the frogs to sing loudly as the sun takes a bow from its performance and dips behind the curtained hills to rest for the next day.

And so evening arrives with a painted sky of vivid colors. Birds say their goodnights, the baby birds receive their final feedings before going to sleep, and we relax for the last moments of our day similarly to how it began. Blinking sleepily, cups of hot tea in our hands, blankets over legs and cold toes.

We eventually drag ourselves to bed and crawl under fresh blankets. The May air still lingers, drifting in through open windows and kissing our sleeping faces. For all the bright, loud, joy of May days, May nights are the most quiet. Too soon for summer bugs and air conditioners, and just far enough into the year for the lack of the heater.

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