APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
(T.S. Eliot/The Waste Land)
Before leaving, with some measure of relief, my birth month in this watershed year (the month and year I got old…) of 2019, I must speak to Eliot’s April meditations—which do perfectly reflect my April mood this year.
I declared my travel passion ‘cooled’ in the last post. It’s true and the doldrums into which this frightening birthday year have dropped me get most of the credit. I’ve felt fragile and forgetful and finished. Thanks April. Dead land, dull roots, dried tubers. Yeah, I know, April showers are presumably stirring those dead dull dried things back to life but sometimes I wonder if there’s enough rain in the world for that much stirring.
Now. Finally. The month (merry, merry) of May has arrived and I declare all mention of age over and done with. In fact it may be impossible to find a bad word about May in poetry, quotation or song. Here are two examples:
“And a bird overhead sang Follow,
And a bird to the right sang Here;
And the arch of the leaves was hollow,
And the meaning of May was clear.”
(Algernon Charles Swinburne)
The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.
(Edwin Way Teale)
And is it possible…that only eleven hours into May, travel is back on my mind? Phew! What a relief. On the very last day of this month I fly off to Minnesota, to the bottomless green of early summer in the north, the easy availability of caramel malts and sour cream raisin bars, the fine-tuned hum of mosquitoes and the haunting cries of loons (the feathery kind). I feel the happy anticipation of Going Home buoying my spirits already. Indeed, my inner child is already celebrating a much needed visit out to the ‘old place’ where the voices of summers past and apple pies cooling on the roof of the old car and sweet peas preparing to scent our warm weather content haunt me (in a good way). My outer old-child is looking forward to evenings with Robert and Marsha, chatting happily (or grumpily) as the bro endlessly channel surfs; shoe-buying at Bender’s; visits with an old schoolmate, old neighbor, old cousin and Bob Dylan’s old house in Hibbing (shameful that I’ve never paid homage in the past). Lots of ‘old’ but that doesn’t bother me now that it is May.
I know…I know. I always do these sentimental tributes to Minnesota before, after and during my visits ‘home.’ Can’t help myself. I love it there.
And…welcome back May. It’s been way too long.