May is a special month for me, being the month of my father’s birthday, my wedding anniversary and Mother’s Day. In New Zealand May falls in Autumn, when the leaves are at their brightest colour and the weather can’t make up its mind to let go of summer. May is also my middle name, my father being so disappointed I wasn’t a boy who could be named after him, insisted I took the month of his birth as my name. I’m pleased my mother convinced him May sounded better as a middle name.
May holds another story for me though, a story that took place over fifty years ago when a teacher taught us how to dance around a Maypole. Imagine the task of teaching a group of eight and nine year old children with no prior knowledge of maypole dancing. We’d never seen nor heard of this English custom and had no visual support such as You Tube in those days. Our teacher and a few pictures in books helped us along the way.
The teacher, pictured now all these years later on my “About” and “Recently Published” pages, obviously knew the challenge ahead. Practices must have tried his patience, but little by little we learned to dance the steps he required. Eventually we graduated to ribbons. By the time our parents saw us perform as part of a larger pageant, we danced with perfection as we wound our ribbons around the pole, in and out, creating an intricate pattern.
It may not have been Spring in New Zealand when we danced, but a love of learning was planted within me during my two years with that teacher. The maypole dance was only one of many fun activities he introduced to us to help us with our learning. I often think back to that colourful maypole during the month of May.
May is a month of celebration for many around the world. How do you celebrate during the month of May?