POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#012: May 2005
A Time for Commencements
May is the shortest month to spell and for many school-age folk May seems like the longest month of the year. Time drags on as classes chug toward the Heaven of summer break. Whether you are in College, High School, Middle School, Elementary, Kindergarten, or Pre-Kindergarten, many of you will become “Seniors,” graduating to another level. This is to be celebrated with family and friends.
Any excuse to celebrate seems to be a key theme for the month of May. The MERRY MONTH of MAY traditionally and historically has been a time for May Festivals and dancing around May Poles and for getting us all into gear for the long daylight of summer time. Baseball season is in full swing. The frosts are long gone and it’s planting time. Also, time left for that spring cleaning that you didn’t get to last month. What is it you will be planting or throwing out this year? What have you outgrown over the winter months? This is a good time to shed the old and make way for the new and fast growth of summer.
Maybe it is time for the writer, the poet, and the scholar to put away their journals and just head Outside! Or maybe write a few lines about Father swearing loudly while trying to de-winterize the swamp cooler. Others rejoice here because there is so little rust. Why do you think those old cars last so long here in the High Desert? I have seen songs and poems written about the evils of rust. Come to think of it, though, I have never seen a poem about swamp coolers. Folks outside the Southwest would cringe to hear we add moisture to our air-conditioners in order to cool off. Be the first on your block to put that into a P-O-E-M.
May is a strange beast in New Mexico, because it is a “betweener” month of sorts: It can still get quite cold or super windy at a moment’s notice. You can be premature in putting all of your winter clothes far away. The blessings of our winter rains and snowfall this year might also bring about quite a collection of huge tumbleweeds, mass amounts of green weeds to pull, and, unfortunately, maybe more bugs and insects than we ran into last year.
About those “Commencements” ... By now, you have surely been to many inspirational graduation speeches in which a scholar or celebrity explains that “commencement” actually means “beginning” and not ending. A key to the month of May, then, is that it is a time for change, for movement in our lives, and for new beginnings. That may mean a new summer job at Mickey Dee’s or turning over new leaves in the way of getting your daily exercise. This is the time of year when Nature brings new animals to the barnyard and pastures.
And to some parts, tornadoes and rapidly changing weather. So be alert for safety, but also take time to enjoy the beauty of it all as life changes all around you this month. I was born in the middle of the winter. I like the winter. Spring has for me been a time when relationships have shifted (i.e., girlfriends telling me to “Take a hike!”). I do not feel the ecstacy many do about spring time, but I can still enjoiy the beautiful twilights and dawns and meeting new friends during this “betweener” time, when we all will be “Commencing” in our own ways.
Jeff Hartzer copyright 2005