Midwestern Mays

The brazen blue skies. The slight nip in the air. Apple, pear and cherry blossoms hanging heavy from trees that are surely too small to bear that weight. The wild abundance of dandelions. Defiant flowers growing in unexpected places like cracks in the sidewalk, the grass banks on the sides of roads and the undersides of rail tracks.

Serene early mornings are followed by 10 o clocks and 11 o clocks that stretch quietly, coolly and invitingly. Afternoons beckon us to wander, to luxuriate in the sunlight and to warm ourselves. Evenings are long and light. We marvel that night falls so late. Now that it is May, our days and our summers will never end.

To hearts grown weary of sun-less stretches of winter, to feet tense from keeping their hold on icy pavements, to bones chilled numb by the cutting prairie winds and to spirits depressed by the yards of gray, navy, brown and black that swathed every inch of the landscape, May promises the end of bad weather.

May lies.

Snowstorms jump out of their azure closets and delight in shocking us. The gentle breezes of May have disgusting tempers and throw a mean tornado tantrum. Quiet tears quickly metamorphose into flash floods. And silent spring mornings yield to gruff rolls of thunder and cutting flashes of lightning. May lies, with a smile.

And like the little children whose behavior it emulates, Mays charm is ultimately irresistible. We succumb. May lies. We are exasperated. Two days of good conduct and May has fineigled its way back into our graces. We are deceived once more, willing pushovers to Mays affectations.

Thirty-one days of such flirtation and a more reliable June replaces the fickle and flashy May. We settle into a summer routine, conscious that like May, the season will pass. We hurry up and holiday, chafe at the warmth and fear the Fall that will soon be at hand.

Swarna Rajagopalan
May 2000