We didn’t have many rituals growing up, but every may 1st my mum would wake us up early so we could wash our faces in the dew. Later I loved the mayday celebrations in villages and towns all over England and it was wonderful to enjoy the morris in Oxford or at the stones in different places in Devon. May 1st has a special energy, rising sap and heat and froth of life: it’s a celebratory time in the cycle: spring is in full swing and summer not yet here, a time full of pleasure and promise. And the old ways will out: the day is a holiday – whether it be called political or not – and we have a time for enjoyment.
Those howlers were so close this morning I could hear them pee – well technically not, but I could hear the pee hit the leaves and scatter in a thousand yellow droplets – it must give those high bromiliads a nice nitrogen boost. It’s going to be a beautiful day, and thanks to the Caribbean attitude I have 2 days off school before the weekend. Time in the garden stretches before me. Lovely. The mosquitoes are still bad – this is day 4 of their mini plague, a couple more days, hopefully, and they’ll be gone. On my desk here, among the drying ginger, tomato babies, planner, books and coffee mugs, I have a little raised dias with some collected treasures: a howler skull washed up on the pacific side, a bird’s nest, some shells, a piece of coral and some tamarind seeds. There’s a sweet little female lizard living in one of the shells. She’s about 3,1/2 inches long and speckled dark brown and black – the males of her kind are black with orange heads. Each morning she darts around the table looking for breakfast, she comes to within a foot of my elbow but no closer. She just snagged a big juicy mosquito I knocked off my coffee mug. Ah, partnership. Out on the lawn a pair of buff rumped warblers hop around swishing their tails with their bright cream stripe, when it’s not yet fully light these spots shine with a yellow glow, every now and again they’ll pause and the male will sing. I can see the kingbirds leave and enter their nest in the grapefruit (which has not yet born fruit). This is the best time of the day for birds and for once the sound of insects is drowned out by that of birdsong. There goes a flock of tawny crested tanagers, noisy and fast. The long tailed hermit hasn’t visited yet, but I can hear him. The big nature news of the day has to be that – absolutely appropriate on the eve of may 1st - my tiny pond got it’s first frog. I’ve had tadpoles in there since I dug it, bringing them from the pond in the west garden, but that was two months ago and not one frog had arrived. I think the one I heard last night must be one of those tadpoles. He sounded quite lonely, but he was calling and now I’m sure others will come. Gosh I hope he’s big enough to eat grasshoppers.
Sunday, May 04, 2008