Category Archives: Spring

Mayday Mayhem

Mayday is here. That means it’s time to kick off your shoes, drape yourself in flowers and dance around a large phallic symbol in the woods. Exactly why you would want to do this, I have no clue. As a writer, I am honor bound to delve into the reasoning behind such odd behaviors, so I put on my research hat and went to work.
There are all kinds of explanations that originate from nearly every ancient civilization known to man. Back in the day, before Christianity found the Europeans, and said Europeans bowed to various deities, the pagan Celts built bonfires and paraded themselves and their cattle between them to purify them. The Germans attached ribbons, or something, to trees and danced around for the heck of it.
On a more technical side – May 1st falls roughly half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. For the northern hemisphere, it marks the beginning of the growing season, and the end of winter. Truly a cause for celebration – then and now. This makes some sense, as surviving winter back in the day was no easy feat, and the promise of a growing season to replenish storehouses for the next winter must have been a huge relief.
Every year I anticipate the first signs of spring with undisguised eagerness. There’s something about a stout little crocus pushing through the snow that warms my heart. It’s a promise of good things to come, a promise of renewal that almost makes me want to dance naked in the woods, so I can see where these ancient peoples were coming from – sort of.
Have you noticed only women celebrate Mayday?  Why is that? I can only guess. Women were the ones with the most to gain by the arrival of Spring. Can you imagine being trapped in a drafty abode for months with a bunch of hairy, unwashed, bored and horny men? The day the women threw the castle or hut doors open in the Spring, and tossed their men through them, was a day worth celebrating! What a relief that must have been!
 I’m sure this is where the tradition of Spring-cleaning comes from. Throw the men out, open the doors and windows, and sweep out the accumulated nastiness from the forced cohabitation of winter. I can see why the women ran to the woods to gather flowers and dance around. The men, on the other hand, probably weren’t so excited. The coming of Spring meant they had to go to work. No more lazing around, tupping the missus anytime they wanted, eating and drinking, and telling the same old glory days stories to their captive audience. No wonder there aren’t any references to men dancing around a maypole.
Now that I think of it, the whole dancing around the phallic symbol makes more sense now. After all the women had been through over the long winter months, I see the maypole dance as symbolic. Who wouldn’t want to strangle or at least restrain that member, if even symbolically, after months of non-stop action with a less than hygienic male? The men were probably hiding in the woods lest their women forget about the symbolic gesture, and take their celebration to a less symbolic level.
All that being said, I’m glad to see May arrive. Spring is just now arriving to the more northern areas of the country, and I’m anxious to open the doors and windows, and throw a few things out. Maybe I’ll take a walk in the woods or pick some pretty flowers, but I don’t think I’ll be dancing around any phallic symbols. How about you? Will you be celebrating Spring today?

Spring has Sprung

Spring is here, finally.  I know, there’s still snow on the ground, and even in the forecast for parts of the country, but across our great nation, spring has sprung. This week marks the return of baseball. I have to admit, I’ve missed a great deal of spring training due to a certain manuscript I’ve been working on, but the manuscript is finished, mostly, and I can almost hear the crystal clear ‘crack’ of a baseball making solid contact with a bat. It’s a spirit lifter for me. Sure, I love the crocus, daffodils and the promise of chocolate eggs, but nothing says spring like a baseball or softball game.
I love a major league game. I love the giant stadium, the impossibly green grass, the crushed granite baselines, razor sharp chalk lines and nine athletic type hunks adjusting the junk, if you know what I mean, but I can be content with much less.
Whether it’s pint-sized softball players in pink knee socks and pink cleats, or future major leaguers swinging a miniature bat at a ball on a tee, it’s still the sport I love. From the wee ones who pause running the bases to ask a patient coach, “Which one is second?”, to the insecure first year player standing in left field with a plastic glove, drawing pictures with the toe of their new cleats in the bald spot where countless others have stood and dreamed of earning one of the coveted infield positions—it’s still the game I love.
I love the kids who play the game with a passion, and the ones who play for the fun of it. I love the cheers from the dugout, the sound of little girl voices heckling the batter. I love that special time, after a long day at work, when with a paper boat of chili-cheese fries in my lap, and soda at my feet, the sun sinks below the horizon and the bright lights illuminate the field dotted with exuberant combatants. I love the concentration on the pitcher’s face a split second before they hurl the ball toward home plate. I love the ‘snap’ a ball makes in the pocket of a leather glove.
I love the sound of metal cleats on concrete. I love the distinctive ‘ping’ of a homerun hit off the sweet spot on an aluminum bat. I love the smell of sour candy mixed with the greasy tang of a mustard covered hot dog. I love the sound of parents yelling encouraging words, the hushed whispers of regret as their child learns the hard lessons of failure, and the exuberant celebrations when the same child learns the taste of success.
I love the excitement of teenagers and young adults who wear their school colors with pride, and give everything they’ve got to bring glory to their team and their school. I love to see the struggle on their faces as they take on the opposition with nothing but the skill they’ve worked hard to perfect. Baseball and its little sister, softball, are team sports, but unlike most other team sports, players must perform as individuals for most of the game. They bat alone, they pitch alone. They run the bases and field the ball alone. It’s a gutsy kid who stands solitary whether in triumph or defeat.
So as the baseball and softball players take the field, I’ll grab a bag of peanuts, a hot dog in a soggy bun and a cold one. Whether my team wins or loses, I’ll have a good time. I’ll sing along with the national anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, no matter that I couldn’t carry a tune if it had handles on it. I’ll yell at the ump, and cheer on my team, and maybe I’ll even stop by the local park and watch the kids play for a while. After all, it is spring, and nothing says spring to me like Play Ball!