sun-drenched wings and petals

5.21.24 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
sun-drenched female northern cardinal

It was a borderline-humidity morning, between comfy and muggy, and Tim was still coughing from the cold he caught in Italy, but we decided to chance a walk anyway. This is the time of year when the sun feels too bright and my camera sometimes responded by turning the blurry bokeh effect into solid black.

pipevine swallowtail butterfly

We forgot the bug repellent and I came home with two mosquito bites, one on each forearm. But the pretty (and non-biting) insects were out enjoying the sunshine, too! I’m not 100% sure of all my identifications here, but I’m giving them my best guess. Some of the butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies seemed new to me.

fire pink
common whitetail dragonfly
oakleaf hydrangea
dusky dancer damselfly

Summer, for the cold-blooded, represents the Elysian days. Warmth brings life and animation. Their blood responds, literally, to every rise and fall of the mercury. Chill is synonymous with sluggishness, cold with immobility. The sun directly regulates the intensity with which they live.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Grasshopper Road)

white waterlily
ebony jewelwing (aka black-winged damselfly)
grass pink orchid
mating silver-spotted skipper butterflies
tulip prickly pear
variable dancer damselfly
stokes’ aster
chamomile
downy wood mint
Coastal Plain Habitat boardwalk in May

Even though it isn’t technically summer here yet, either meteorologically or astronomically, it can now be called summer for all intents and purposes!

serene and honey sweet

“May Morn” by John Henry Twachtman

Another dawn — serene and honey sweet. At such times, it seems to me that dawn is nine-tenths of the day. Staying up late at night has a sameness about it; but every dawn is different. And this is the dawn of May — May, the month that is never long enough. This is May the first as the first of May should be. … On such a day as this, it is enough to spend the hours soaking in the sunshine, breathing slowly, sensing to the full all the perfumes of spring. It is enough to delight in the varied shades of green, in the forms of trees and the colors of flowers. On such a day, all our moments out-of-doors are lived in quiet pleasure.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist’s Year)

on the morning of the month’s first day

4.30.22 ~ tulips in my garden

But May is a month to be enjoyed, not coldly discussed, and enthusiasm should thrill to the very finger-tips of every one who, on the morning of the month’s first day, hears the thrush, grosbeak, oriole, and a host of warblers as they great the rising sun. And rest assured, dear startled reader, that unless you are astir before the sun is fairly above the horizon you will never know what bird-music really is. It is not alone the mingled voices of a dozen sweet songsters; for the melody needs the dewy dawn, the half-opened flowers, the odor-laden breeze that is languid from very sweetness, and a canopy of misty, rosy-tinted cloud, to blend them to a harmonious whole, and so faintly foreshadow what a perfected world may be.
~ Charles Conrad Abbott
(Days Out of Doors)

harvest’s song

“The Harvest” by Camille Pissarro

She’ll come at dusky first of day,
White over yellow harvest’s song.
Upon her dewy rainbow way
She shall be beautiful and strong.
The lidless eye of noon shall spray
Tan on her ankles in the hay,
Shall kiss her brown the whole day long.

I’ll know her in the windrows, tall
Above the crickets of the hay.
I’ll know her when her odd eyes fall,
One May-blue, one November-grey.
I’ll watch her from the red barn wall
Take down her rusty scythe, and call,
And I will follow her away.

~ Francis Ledwidge
(August)

sudden burst of brightness

“The Time of the Lilacs” by Sophie Gengembre Anderson

The explosion of May-blossom, sunlight, and burgeoning life needs expression at this time, when workday commonplaces can be thrown to the four winds and the bright joy of living can bubble up within us with natural ecstasy. All who have waited at dawn to welcome in summer have felt the sudden burst of brightness that ignites the deep happiness of the living earth as the sun rises.
~ Caitlín Matthews
(The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year)

Happy May Day!

sticks, bells, ribbons

5.1.15.4844
Westerly Morris Men ~ 5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

Strike up a measure, sprightly this way
And we’ll dance an idle hour away
Dance in the garden, dance on the lea
To a Morris music light and free

5.1.15.4857
Westerly Morris Men ~ 5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

Greenly call the rushes
Budding is the willow
Spring now is here and all is fair
And she rides on the south wind
Sweet and warm with May
And a wreathe of hawthornes deck her hair

5.1.15.4920
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

Why not dance when happy songs resound
In the trees and hedges all around
Say farewell to toil and work a day
For the dance will drive all cares away

5.1.15.4928
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

Tim’s father, Karl Freeman Rodgers, Jr. (1930-1978), was a Morris dancer. Sadly, he died of cancer shortly after Tim & I were married so I never had much of a chance to get to know him or to see him dance, but I think of him every May Day, especially when we manage to drag ourselves out of bed to watch the Westerly Morris Men dance at dawn on the campus of Connecticut College.

5.1.15.4932
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

In 1964, Karl was one of the founding members of the Pinewoods Morris Men:

Karl Rogers was elected Squire at the 1972 Ale. Karl had many talents: racer, musician, singer, teacher, and he was among the best at all of these. In his year as Squire, he founded the PMM Newsletter, and pushed hard for the establishment of a PMM-funded scholarship to Pinewoods Camp for prospective Morris dancers.
~ Pinewoods Morris Men

5.1.15.4938
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

From the first, then, the Newsletter was intended not only to report PMM activities, but also to exchange views and ideas among all Morris dancers. Karl’s success in establishing the format led directly to the creation of the American Morris Newsletter less than five years later.
~ Pinewoods Morris Men

5.1.15.4942
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

In November (1978), we lost a valued friend and founding member when Karl Rodgers died on Thanksgiving Day, after a long battle with cancer. In his year as Squire, he started the Newsletter, and introduced the idea of a Pinewoods Scholarship. The Newsletter flourished, and spun off the American Morris Newsletter; at the time Karl died, Fred Breunig was well on the way to establishing AMN as the premier forum for Morris matters in this country. The scholarship had been established in 1975; it was only fitting that it be renamed in Karl’s memory.
~ Pinewoods Morris Men

5.1.15.4967
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

I am born on May Morning – by sticks, bells, and ribbons
I am the sap – in the dark root I am the dancer – with his six fools
~ William Anderson
(The Green Man)

5.1.15.4972
5.1.15 ~ New London, Connecticut

Happy May Day!