I remember making cones out of the pages of a wallpaper sample book my grandmother gave me, tying ribbons onto them (handles) and filling them with flowers to put on the neighbors' doors for May Day. Nevermind that I probably got the flowers for them from the neighbors I was "gifting" them to. (I also cut asparagus from the ditch banks behind my neighbors' yards and sold it to them).
Flowers were simpler then. Everyone had lilacs, "flags" (gladiolas?) and iris by May Day. Tulips and daffadils had already disappeared. Roses hadn't arrived. No one got new colorful annuals at a garden center every year. This year, as I think about making May Day bouquets or baskets, I could put just about any flower I wanted in them, if I wanted to go into a store and get them.
This May Day has some special significance for me. It comes when I'm feeling just a little optomism about the pandemic eventually getting under control and am feeling just a tad safer from having gotten vaccinated. It's cautious optimism. I kind of feel like I should get out real quick, put flowers on everyone's door and get back inside before the other shoe drops and I can't go out again.
Also in April of a couple of years ago, I declared myself on a mission to choose more joy for myself after losing first a partner and then and a sister in the springs of two consecutive years and receiving my own diagnosis of breast cancer. May just seemed full of promise for a better way. There was a lot of new joy to discover after that declaration. New love, moves, volcanic eruption of creative inspiration. And then suddenly there was a lot of fear around the corona virus threatening everything.
While I was "managing" this past year, I boldly invested in a market cart that would allow me (eventually) to spread the joy of art and gardens everywhere again. Every gardener has a hopeful heart. We wouldn't be able to put seeds in the ground and find any faith that they would grow if not. So the cart was built without a real plan for where it would live or how it would carry out its mission to spread joy. And, when Spring came and I started being able to walk about more outside (masked and at a safe distance from others still), I start "looking" for where it might go and what it might do. This is really another story of putting the cart before the horse or the horse before the cart...whatever fits. Anyway, nothing fit. Places too far to maneuver the wagon to them, markets that didn't allow for art, etc. Still, I made things to put on the cart. I painted it. I made signs. I "believed" I would recognize its destination when I saw it. And then one day, doing some unrelated good in a different direction (picking up trash in the neighborhood with the Mayfly PDX group that I'd just discovered), I overheard that they were creating a plaza and it would have vendors. Bonus points for them being the generous kind of people I love most. They suggested I debut the "Wheel-a-Barrow Wagon" in their plaza on May 1. I didn't recognize the perfection for that until some after-the-fact reflection.
But here it is. Reason to celebrate. Reason to hope. Reason to choose more joy in the merry month of May.
Join me at the Wheel-a-Barrow Wagon's debut at the Mayfly PDX Plaza on May 1, starting around 11 a.m. and continuing through early evening, weather providing.
After this debut, the wagon will be there most Wednesdays and on on other special days. But this first day is very special and I'd love it if you would come help give the wagon a good send-off on its search for more joy to spread around this coming year and beyond.
8350 N. Fenwick Ave, Portland (Kenton)