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The Pleasures of May

The Pleasures of May
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Maybe this month is called “May” because of all the new things that are possible.

“A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road…” so goes the catchy bossa nova song, “The Waters of March,” which lists an inventory of some lovely (and brutal) things unearthed in the torrents of spring. Following March and April comes May, which deserves its own song, perhaps a bossa nova (which coincidentally means “new trend”), we could call it, “The Pleasures of May.”

My score (if I were musically inclined) would include the loon’s new wail, the creaking peepers, and the veery with its very repetitive phrase, (veer-veer-veer-veer) to which I’d add lyrics enumerating these new possibilities:

Open Window

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Open Window

1. Whereas in winter we try to keep each precious particle of heat inside, now we May open window—at last! the air is free to circulate, to wander in or out as it pleases.

The Grill

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
The Grill

2. The back door to the porch, which was barricaded first by us (to keep the heat in) and then by winter itself (with a wall of snow), is an operable portal again—which we passed through eight times yesterday evening alone to bring out fixings for…the grill! Now we May grill our food!

New Leaves

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
New Leaves

3. My favorite spring magic trick is when trees pull leaves (seemingly) out of their twiggy sleeves. In a matter of days (hours?) every birch, maple, lilac, ash, popple, apple, larch…has manifested these fantastic green things so we May have shade.

Robin's impossibly blue egg

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Robin’s impossibly blue egg

4. And despite my fierce love of the color green with all its progressively deepening hues, I’m a fool for robin’s egg blue. In the past few days the birds wreathed a nest and laid two cerulean eggs in the cedar tree beside the barn door. Though I may never understand how eggs become this exquisite color, we May have more two more singers soon.

Rhubarb

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Rhubarb

5. Nearby, the garden, which for so many months was just my sleeping genius soil, is revealed and ready to be worked. But some edibles like the fall-planted Garlic, perennial Asparagus and burgeoning Rhubarb, are tending themselves. Except for the minor effort of stooping to harvest, we May have oodles of rhubarb stalks for pie and juice with no exertion on my part.

Pear blossom

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
Pear blossom

6. Surrounding the garden, Pear trees, Plum trees, Apple and Cherry trees– they’re all decked out in lovely petals, which they litter and scatter like yahoos tossing empties out truck windows. Could you imagine cutting up your best dress and tossing the scraps to the breeze? Me, neither. But these trees—they just let it all go…so that we May have fruit later on.

The Adirondack Chair

Photo/Art by Julia Shipley
The Adirondack Chair

 7. And even if really there is so much to do that I won’t finish it all till mid November, having an Adirondack chair on the lawn facing the distance suggests rest, repose, reverie. Between frenzies of work, I May sit and marvel at the natural world as it continues to issue its astonishing new trends.

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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Julia Shipley

Author:

Julia Shipley

Biography:

Julia Shipley is the author of three poetry chapbooks and most recently, a prose collection Adam's Mark: Writing from the Ox House, supported by a 2010-11 Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant and published by Plowboy Press. Her Vermont Rural Life blog showcases the people, land and community of her unique corner of Vermont-- a mix of mountains and fields, daisies and delphiniums, Holstein cows and eight point Bucks, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, newcomers and old-timers all making their way in one of the least populated places on the east coast
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