May Day

Today is May Day, and I should be dancing in flowers. As we should all.

But it’s also the end of the semester, so all I’m dancing in is papers. And today was wet with one of those chill, soaking rains that we get in spring, in Boston. There was no dancing.

What does one do on a May Day like that? What I’m going to do is give you some things that seem, to me, very May. First, a girl standing among blossoms, dressed the way I wish I could have been dressed today (in a romantic summer dress, rather than a jacket and scarf).

Second, almond blossoms by Vincent Van Gogh, who understood trees in a way I don’t think anyone else has or will.

Third, clocks, because summer is coming when there will be more time, but at the same time, it is passing – time is passing as it always does, and the question we have to ask ourselves is, are we spending it well? (I hope to spend it well.)

And finally, one of my favorite poems by A.E. Housman, who understood both spring and time. He is one of the greats, like Van Gogh.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

That’s all I have for you tonight, because I have to go back to dancing among papers. But those pictures, that poem, symbolize the life I want to create: beautiful, magical. I can’t wait for summer.

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