May Day falls halfway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. Spring is here, and winter is over for now. The ground is warm and alive. The earth is in bloom with flowers. It is a time of light, and increasing light.
In pagan times, the first of May was a high holiday--Beltane. It was the beginning of summer, a celebration of rebirth and renewal, fertility and growth. There were maypole dances, bonfires and feasting. It is still celebrated by neo-pagans and Wiccans today.
But these days are celebrations, even if you do not observe the holiday. Now come the perfect days, the shedding of layers and the first cut of the new grass. Yellow flowers (sacred to May festivals) are everywhere--we have tulips, daffodils and dandelions, and the yellow forsythia blooming. We have days of sun.
We have cats rolling on the sidewalks. We have dogs greeting each other on the street. In the plazas, pigeons are dancing. We have bicycles and sneakers, cargo shorts and T-shirts. We have sunglasses and sunscreen at Walgreens.
Yes, we have glorious springs, here. Now, the al fresco places open. The lakefront comes alive. There will be music in the parks, and neighborhood festivals. There will be concerts at Ravinia.
There will be baseball in vacant lots, sandlots and minor league parks as well as the cathedrals of the Major Leagues--Cellular Field and Wrigley field.
There will be playoff hockey!
There will be convertibles. There will be sailboats on the lake. There will be girls in breezy dresses. There will be boys without ties.
There will be increasing green days, and light though summer leaves.
Now begins the best of times, no matter how you celebrate them.
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