POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#024: May, 2006
Poets are nothing if not keen observors of the world around them. This traditionally Merry Month of May finds our nation’s mood to be a bit UN-MERRY this year. For all of us here in the high desert, the supposed April Showers were a big disappointment. Where have all the flowers gone? And our lawns; even the weeds are parched, and it is not yet summertime.
In Wales and other parts of the world, 'May Day' (also referred to as Beltane) heralds the beginning of summer and is considered to be “the great holiday”. 'May Day' ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the Goddess Maia, originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades.
Congress designates May as National Military Appreciation Month which includes: Loyalty Day (1st), VE Day (8th), Military Spouse Day (12th), Armed Forces Day (20th), and concludes with Memorial Day on the 29th of May. Since 1983, May has been observed as ‘National Physical Fitness and Sports Month’. May is also ‘National Bike Month’. The annual celebration of ‘American Wetlands Month’ in May inspires and empowers people to work throughout the year to protect, preserve and expand wetlands. ‘Older Americans Month’ originated with a presidential proclamation in May 1963. May is ‘Better Hearing and Speech’ month. Though most folks spend more time outside and less time in front of their telvision sets, May is also Sweep’s Month where broadcast networks compete for viewers with their best mini-series specials that this year include an ABC flick about a bird-flu mutation about to wipe out all of us. Yes, our mood is grim these days.
For students of all ages, May brings a time for ‘graduations’ which we have ironically termed, commencements, a word which simply means beginnings. We accomplish our graduations/completions so that we MAY move on...And despite the continuing lack of rain here, along with the catastrophic rise in gas prices, we will move on and up and over that next hill toward summertime’s solstice in June.
It is good in Spring to clear some empty spaces in those old corners of your house or garage. Clear off the dead growth left over from Winter’s sleepy times. Rabbits and other animals go into their ‘summer weights’ now, shedding excess pounds and their way too warm winter coats. Not a bad lesson for us human folk. In New Mexico, if you dig a big hole in your yard it will in short time, be filled again thanks to our flowing sandy winds. If you empty a space in your garage, dust it out, clean it up, you can count on filling that space again over the summertime stocking up for Autumn. It takes some strength and bravery to LET GO the old and to create an empty space even for a short time. We all seem more inclined to Fill up rather than to Empty out. We fear that sense of lacking something. Perhaps this is especially true here in the high desert, where if you take a short drive in any direction, you will rapidly see that we are surrounded by empty space!
Be kind to yourself this month as you congratulate those who are graduating from one level of life and commencing forward to new levels of life. Indeed, we all do this in May as the seasons change. Overhead the Big Dipper now shines where Orion held court for winter hunts. Time marches on. Here’s to bringing in some extra Yard Sale cash for those things you no longer need. Maybe you can buy a gallon or two of gas for your summer travels.
Jeff Hartzer copyright 2006