A May Zing


Boats begin to fill waters, bushes start to obscure views,  unblocked sun begins to burn.
  • Spring is aging more rapidly than me.  Crocus, daffodils, forsythia are ancient memories, tulips more recent ones.  Dandelions are here to stay, azaleas and dogwoods take center stage.  Everything is fresh green and gleaming under bright _ but still cool _ skies.  Soon heat arrives, then the long happy sloth of summer.
  • But in the meantime, it is easy to feel rejuvenation in outlook and joints.  A zip in my step as I wander woodland paths listening to nesting birds, watching ferns uncoil, noticing that tree shadows have returned.  Once again heeding breathless warnings about ticks.  It’s a wonderful time. I think I am just as I was when once I was five.  Unfortunately, some quick pain or breathlessness suddenly reminds me I am not.


Ragweed glistens framing whitecaps on a blustery afternoon.
  • Ragweed covers disturbed soil like a blanket, another start to its attempted conquest of all Huntington.  Still kind of pretty and cute, a dusty grey-green low cover that is a nice step up from the mud.  It hides trash, and convincingly shows that nature has a few tricks left to overcome human stupidity.
  • I know that shortly it will be waist-high, choking out what I consider more desirable plants.  I know that naturalists despise it as an invasive intruder, a blight on the landscape.  I will sneeze with everyone else when it releases pollen in a few months.  But it is hard not to feel a secret admiration for its toughness and tenacity.


Wisteria overcrowds supporting trees along back roadsides everywhere.
  • “Ring around the rosie” is a cheerful children’s ditty about the Black Death.
  • Kids today flock to horror movies in much the same spirit.


Marinas also have sap running and boats blooming.
  • In Northern temperate climates, May traditionally causes hormones to surge and love to dominate passions. It’s hard not to smile at young couples holding hands, entranced in a world that is only partly shared with others, with all cares and worries reduced to interacting with one another.
  • Even grumpy and disillusioned old folks can usually remember happy times of youth. Now we are shriveled, but once we were just like them.  A few of us, I admit, are cynical and bitter and remember only that young love finally failed, as it often does.  But all in all, we share that bond of existence, and it adds a particular zing to match fresh (although pollen-laden) air.
  • The frequent consequences of couples bonding also scream and howl and laugh around playgrounds.  Children of all ages are finally released from indoor gloom and feel free as the birds singing continuously around them.  Of course, the old folks smile for a while, then wish that the noise would die down and leave them in contemplative peace.
  • May in a Huntington park is a wonder of joyful madness, shared community happiness, and even a random shaft of hope for the future _ to offset the electronic drone of doom emanating from our self-proclaimed more important media.


May contains no “R” but shellfish collection continues under much better conditions than in February.
  • Azaleas are ubiquitously native to the northern hemisphere, but more than that they have been selectively bred by many cultures over thousands of years.  Lately, there seems to be a frenzy of introducing new and more fantastic varieties each year.  Why not?  They are hardy, evergreen, grow in shady spots, and are spectacular in spring, handsome most of the year.  Minimal care, but rarely found in the wild, unlike their cousin rhododendrons.
  • Why bother looking this up?  Should I not be content to merely gaze and wonder and enjoy the show?  Probably yes.  And yet _ as with almost everything _ a deeper detailed and accurate knowledge encourages more profound meditation.  True mystery is never destroyed by knowledge.  


Low tide exposes algae which demonstrate just how quickly foliage has matured to darker greens.
“Lovely Leda, isn’t this just perfection,” Paul majestically paddles through the calm green waters of Hecksher pond.  “Why, people have even fenced off our nest to keep away curious children.  I’m glad we come back here every year.”
“I guess,” sighs his mate, “but I do miss having some privacy once in a while.”
“Maybe so,” replies the other swan, “but it also means we miss most of the raccoons, cats, and rats we used to have to deal with.”
“I know, there’s always tradeoffs.  This is a beautiful and relatively safe spot.”
“As long as we remember to warn the kids about old Arnie the snapping turtle.”
“Yeah, but he hasn’t really been too aggressive now that there are lots of fish around.”
“Besides, Leda, the hawks hate to fly around this congested traffic area.  I tell you, it’s just about perfect.”
A few more pedestrians stop nearby to snap pictures, all chattering away. “Fame, fame, fame.  We might even go viral.”
“And what good would that do any of us, Paul?  A Nike sponsorship for down jackets?  Or ending up on a thanksgiving dinner table to advertise some kind of gravy?”
“No,” Paul says, nibbling an itch under his wing, “I’m pretty sure that is turkeys.  Or geese.  Not us.”
Leda sniffs.  “Low life geese, that’s the only thing I don’t like here, the neighborhood has been going downhill for some time.  We’re going to have to get the cygnets into some good water with the right sort of birds later on.”

Paul nods in resignation as he glides off.  Such is the way of a lifelong marital commitment.

A few days of high heat have shoved honeysuckle into blossom,  despite a chill drifting across waves.
When I was younger, the world fine and free
I mostly ignored what was not about me
Now that I’m aged with vast changes gone by
Sometimes I summon my strength for a sigh
Each era was marked with its hopes and its fears
Fortunate we who encountered those years
No matter what, ‘twas a marvelous show

What will come next, I scarce wish to know.

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