May Day is an almost forgotten day of the “special days” on the calendar. When I was a kid, our mother, Collene Spencer helped us make “May Baskets” and fill them with candy. Then we would take them to the neighbors’ homes and hang them on the doorknobs. We would then knock on the door and go hide. The homeowner then had to try to find us…or they could just shout out their “thank you” and enjoy the candy. No matter what they decided to do, we always had a great time giving May Baskets, and I think it taught us to be givers.
There are a number of traditions that were carried out in the early years of May Day, but have since faded away. Things like the May Pole dance and fire cleansing (I’m not even sure what that is). There might be places where they still celebrate in this way, and some towns actually have a permanent May Pole. Some other traditions like the May Baskets and spring cleaning have stuck it out for the long haul. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that spring cleaning actually started as a May Day tradition, and yet millions of people do some time of spring cleaning, yard preparation, and even redecorating or remodeling beginning on May Day.
For me, these days, May Day doesn’t involve May Baskets. That is a tradition that went by the wayside with my adulthood. I think my mom would have done that for all of her life, if she could find willing co-conspirators, and that makes me a little sad, because Mom never really asked much of anyone. Nevertheless, she did love her traditions, and it must have been a little sad for her to see May Baskets go by the wayside. For me, May Day really doesn’t mean anything much, except that Spring is finally…really here. The days are longer and warmer. I can get outside and walk on my trail, especially in the early mornings, which have been far too cold prior to this, and still might be a bit cold some mornings. It always seems like the year shifts into high gear on May Day, because while I don’t mind Fall, I don’t look forward to the coming Winter. I am more of a three-season girl, who would love to just skip Winter completely, but I live in the wrong state for that so…anyway, happy May Day everyone. May your celebration…whatever that is, be sweet and special.
A few years ago, Bob and I had the opportunity to take a trip to Canada that was an award from one of the companies I write insurance for. They had set up several things for us to do, such as hikes, an imitation Queen of England for us to meet, who was very good by the way, and even an animal exhibit, complete with birds you can’t even get close to normally. Canada was beautiful, and we had a wonderful time. We loved the hike we took, which ended at a waterfall, and there was also a river right behind our hotel that was running very high and made for a beautiful view as well.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most was the animals. They had a set of sled dogs that were just beautiful, and thankfully not like the mean one on the movie “Snow Dogs”. There was also a hawk and several other birds. But the one that most impressed me was the miniature owl. He was a Northern Pygmy Owl and he stood about 5″ or 6″ tall. He was so cute. I had the opportunity to actually hold him on my finger, and he willingly sat there. I would have thought he would have been skiddish, since they are a very timid owl. They normally hide as much as they can. Of course, I’m quite sure they aren’t timid when they are hunting at night, but then I suppose that there aren’t many humans out then either.
I did a little research on this littl owl, and found that when they get excited, they twitch their tail…and here I thought he was trying to keep his balance, hahahaha!! One thing that surprised me was how gentle he was while sitting on my finger. One would think that with claws like that he would have scratched or something, but he didn’t…and believe me, I was very grateful. His feet kind of tickled my finger, especially when he moved around a little, but I was so fascinated that it never occurred to me to feel nervous about what he would do. He was just too beautiful to take my eyes off of, and I had never expected to be able to actually hold an owl. Our trip was wonderful, and one I will never forget, and I am glad I have this picture to remember my moment with the Northern Pygmy Owl.