The thud of a tailwag.
Happy May! How are you all? How’s that better, kinder world coming on?
Beltane and May Day
This morning, as I sat in bed with my first cup of tea of the day, I reflected on May Day mornings of recent years. Living in Edinburgh, it always seemed there was a satisfied, exhausted hush across the city the morning after the night before. The Beltane celebrations on Calton Hill – all fire, paint, and bodies – had wound down for another year, and you could spot people only just returning from Arthur’s Seat throughout the morning and early afternoon. Three years ago, when I was drafting an on-off series of #BusHaiku, I noted:
content, slip through Newington
with dew-smudged facepaint.
The Calton Hill Beltane celebrations – attended by all faiths and none – were a delight in their sheer power and force of a people. Taking a sip of tea in my warm, cosy bed, I mused how sad it would have been this year for those who had hoped to celebrate together in such celebrations throughout Scotland, England, and beyond; and being unable to do so.
It was curious, then, to be stood by the kettle just after six this morning, waiting for my next tea to brew, and to feel that familiar sense of satisfied and peaceful exhaustion emanating from the garden. For the first time in a week or two, there was no sun at all, but a silver-grey, still sky. I had woken to a peacefully rain-soaked garden, with vibrant greens and reds, peppered with the whites and pinks of various tree blossoms. The tulips looked brighter, in colour and spirit. The raised beds, with their freshly damp, dark earth, had clearly appreciated the recent rainfall.
People in their droves (pun intended) may have been missing from this year’s Beltane and May Day celebrations, but Celebration has been marked nonetheless.
Where and When
The garden has been grateful for the recent sunshine and periodic rainfall, and has shifted everything up a gear. I haven’t managed to spend nearly as much time as I wanted outside this month, and what I have been doing is mostly that tiring but strangely rewarding work of weeding and titivating. There is still much to be done, though I’m hopeful that by the end of the long weekend we have planned next week (to mark The Man, Euan, Splendid Trees himself, entering the last year of his thirties) I will have managed to get everything under control. I live in hope.
One thing I do want to do – and I had it in my mind, poetically, to do today – is plant the sweet peas. That, and the rest of the vegetable seeds. I’m hopeful that, by the time shoots appear, the last of the frosts of the season will have been and gone.
A Murder of Crows
As I mentioned last month, my mother’s book launch for ‘Child of the Earth’ was postponed from March. It it now available, with a week-long series of virtual events held last week to tie in with Earth Day. My three younger sisters have all been busy as well, participating in a virtual book fair and planning for publications later in the year. My brother, Alex, shared his latest newsletter last night, which features (amongst other things) a list-based song of appreciation for Portugal, and musings on barn owls and windmills.
On the Bookshelf
I always think I am going to manage more reading, and I am always surprised when I don’t quite live up to my own expectations. This month, however, I did start re-reading ‘Be More Pirate’ by Sam Conniff Allende, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It has a supplementary website, which I have yet to peruse. I last tried reading it in hospital last year, the day after giving birth. I’m enjoying it much more now that my brain isn’t skittering around quite so much as a result of stitch-ache and no sleep.
In the Inkwell
As you will have noticed, my essay on Communication and Audience – originally planned to be shared on the 20th of April – is still pending. This is because it has grown and grown, and I’m currently trying to be harsh and edit firmly. I nearly had it a week ago, and then I read ‘A Theory of Zoom Fatigue’ by The Convivial Society and my must-reflect brain lurched into gear again. I am, however, optimistic that I will share the essay (now drafted into Parts I and II) this weekend.
I will, of course, be sharing my next Essay Sketch on the 10th of May (in between the aforementioned birthday celebrations). There’s still time to comment on the current Essay Sketch (Curating People) for those who have signed up for full access (still free). May’s Essay Sketch is a sideways step in tone and content, as part of the fun of this method of developing and collaborating on thoughts is being able to try out different topics and approaches. Out of all of the Essay Sketches I tentatively have planned for this year, I think May’s might be my favourite.
And, on the 20th May, I should be sharing my thoughts on Curating People. Let’s see how that one goes.
As I’ve said, and as you know, this year is very much about trying out different approaches and formats. The other day, I was debating the possibility of using the discussion thread functionality to host a conversation in real-time between myself and another (or series of others, if people enjoy it). For anyone able to participate and follow in real-time, they could: but it would also be a record after the event. Think of it as a written equivalent of a podcast, or something not dissimilar in format to Reddit’s (trademarked, no less) Ask Me Anythings (AMAs), but predominantly on a single theme. I’m thinking of trialling this with family and friends as guests, and possibly focussing on approaching topics from a collaborative perspective, bringing together different influences and thoughts on issues of relevance and (possibly academic) interests. Timescale as yet undecided. Thoughts?
And, with that, I hear a stirring from the bedroom. A sleepy morning sneeze and the thud of a tailwag. The family awakes.
‘til next time,
1st May 2020
Croy, Highlands, Scotland