May is potential and possibilities. Despite the occasional snow here (just once in recent memory! most of the time we’re exaggerating when we talk about a 6-9 month winter!), May really is firmly in the Not Winter category. There’s a lightness in it, and in us, both figurative and literal. That battle metaphor I cribbed from Kenny Blumenfeld to use when talking about March? It’s really part of April too. It’s not ’til May that Winter is pretty firmly vanquished, even if does sometimes have a blow left in it that stings all the more for being totally unexpected.
Part of the lightness of May comes from the clothing. In Minnesota, you need lots of clothes. By volume, this is almost all winter stuff–I wasn’t entirely wrong when, at age four and anticipating our family move from Denver to northern MN, I told my preschool teachers that we were going someplace where it was so cold in the winter you had to wear all your clothes and so hot in the summer you couldn’t wear any. Especially with the way climate change is impacting us, our seasons are more unpredictable. This means a bigger closet and, in the battle seasons, clothes are in-and-out of deep storage. The surest way to get a freeze in May? Box up your last wool sweater up on a high shelf. #jokingnotjoking
But even with that relic superstitious wool sweater hanging out in the closet ’til mid-July like a fake security sign on the house window, May’s mostly dependable. Our closets are thinned of bulkiness, full of light sweaters and spring dresses that appeared from boxes like well-chosen presents from our long-past selves. Now the windows can stay open and the screens are on. The seedlings, so carefully planted and tended, are in the ground and on their own. The bike’s snow tires have been stored away with the storm windows.
One of the greatest joys of extreme climates is exploring totally new worlds without travel. As familiar as each season should be after a few decades, the body forgets the details. Crocuses! Lilies of the valley! The sounds of lakes lapping! The world is ten times as big and there’s a sort of joyful novelty to all of it that comes from this security and contentment. THIS is the way the world will be, forever, hurrah! Shall we move? Why not! Let’s bike to Duluth! Why not! I’m planning a revolution of blankets on grass and art sales in parks and climbing every tree! Me too!
In May, we’re all on our way somewhere, but for the journey, not the destination.