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Oh Happy Day!

Blooming May invites us into nature

     About May Baskets, I am full of opinions.
     On May 1, the fast-unfolding year 2018 reaches the cross-quarter day between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, bringing us the milding of spring. Oh happy day! we should shout, for we have been sore oppressed, complaining bitterly about cold and wind. On such a short-sleeves day as this, we ought to be celebrating. We ought to be hanging May baskets with the temper of enthusiasm we indulge on the opposite cross-quarter day, Halloween. Displays like that are the prayers and intercessions we humans raise to hold up our part of the bargain of continuing time. 
      At this point in time, we have great news to cheer. Flora has risen from the underworld, and Mother Nature breaks out in blooms to celebrate. In ancient Greek myth, they were Persephone, the reluctant bride of Hades, and her mother Demeter, goddess of fruitfulness, who won her daughter’s annual eight-month furlough from the land of the dead.
     To keep the cycle going, we should be gathering flowers from woods and our garden — or at last resort buying them, ideally from the Four Rivers Garden Club’s pre-May Day flower and May Basket sale at Annapolis City Dock. I’ve done it both ways, and felt springier for it. In the distant past, I’ve also left secret nosegays on a friend’s front stoop early May Day morning.
      Yet more often than not, I’ve failed to arrange my own May Day welcome basket. This is one of those not-years. 
      The only excuse I can make for myself and all of us May Day slackers is that the day celebrates itself. The woods are punctuated by the exclamation points of lavender redbud trees and white dogwoods. Crabapple trees are top heavy with blossoms. In the midstory, azaleas have caught fire. Down below, violets are rampant, and irises are raising their flags. These florid days are a pretty good time to be alive.
     We may fail to hang May baskets, but we can’t resist breaking out of our indoor winter prisons for the great out-of-doors. 
      It must be that we’re on the run from winter, because races are breaking out all over this first week of May. 
      For serious sailboat racers, it’s the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta, out in the Bay from Annapolis.
      For runners trying out their stride, it’s the Chesapeake Health & Fitness Club’s 5K, setting off from the club in Deale at 8am Saturday.
      For athletes on foot, running blades and wheelchairs, it’s the 6th annual Bay Community Support Services Walk, Run & Roll race starting at 9am at Greenwell State Park in Hollywood.
      For canines and their two-legged companions, it’s the 27th annual SPCA Walk for the Animals with runners off at 7:30am and walkers at 9am at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. 
       You’ll find plenty of pokier ways to get out in nature this weekend in 8 Days a Week. For twilight experiences, visit North Beach Farmers Market’s opening night or track the March of Galaxies at Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, both Friday evening.
      Saturday morning, count birds in spring migration at Beverly Triton Beach Park in Edgewater. Join Annapolitans in beautifying block cleanups. Hike to look into the Archaeology of the Glendening Nature Preserve in Lothian. Walk or bike the 4.7-mile Planet Walk of the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail from Severna Park to Glen Burnie. Celebrate May Day colonial style at Historic St. Mary’s City. Delve into Southern Maryland traditions at the Solomons Maritime Festival. 
      Or you could stay home and play in the dirt in your garden. That’s my plan, though I suspect I’ll first have to visit Calvert County Master Gardeners plant sale Saturday morning in Prince Frederick.