I think of my Mother on May Day. May 1st is celebrated in a variety of ways that I know of: the common worker is honored in communist countries; pagan traditions celebrate Beltane, the time for mating; and spring is celebrated in northern countries. My Mom grew up with some tradition that she seemed shy about pushing on us but it obviously warmed her heart. She would say with a hesitant but happy smile “It’s May Day!” And then something about flowers and baskets that faded off, as if she felt alone in this dear little tradition that society no longer keeps. I always wondered what the whole picture was but never pursued it.
There were many things my mom would mention about herself – her childhood, the dreams and experiences of her life – but I was full of myself as young people are, and failed to show interest in her thoughts. She, being shy, never pushed herself on others. How I wish now that I’d taken time to chat with her and know her! I can only remember her little comments and try to fill them in with imagination.
I’ve learned somewhere that on May Day there was often a custom that children made either paper or real baskets and filled them with flowers from the woods, then brought them to parents, teachers, neighbors, perhaps left them hanging on their door knobs. Mom so loved the wild flowers in the spring woods of Michigan: the dogwood trees, the little pink and white Spring Beauties, the violets, the snowdrops, and the gorgeous white trilliums. Wherever you are, Mom, I hope you’re always surrounded by beauty and know that your life is still appreciated.