Have You Seen the May Bee?

Have You Seen the May Bee?

This is the day the little May Bee flies forth and children (and some adults) will use him in their speech all day long. I’ve always pictured the May Bee as a small striped ¬†fellow, rather like a bumblebee who wears a happy grin and has transluscent wings the color of spring flowers. But then, writers have wild imaginations.

When my mother was a little girl, she and her sisters would gather bouquets of wildflowers, put them in a basket fashioned out of colored paper and then knock on a neighbor’s door. When I say “neighbor”, it probably was their own mother, ¬†Ma Latty’s door, or maybe Aunt Etta Forrest’s or Grandma Willis’. Those were about the extent of neighbors within walking distances. The children would leave their small paper baskets of flowers on the porch or hanging on the door knob and run and hide. From their hiding place, they’d watch the neighbor open the door, find the flower surprise and take it inside the house. A simple but sweet gesture that belonged to a simpler time.

For several years at Grand View where I taught kindergarten, the PE teacher would wrap the May pole each May 1. It was a pretty sight, watching the children with the long colorful streamers going around the pole holding onto the ribbons until the pole was wrapped in bright colors.

These May Day activities were in celebration of the return of warm weather. Winter is over, birds have returned and are building nests, flowers are blooming and the trees are fully leafed. If spring were a person, the May baskets and wrapping the Maypole would be like throwing open the door to her and saying, Welcome. We’ve waited for you all winter. Come on in and stay a spell.


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