May. This might be one of my favorite months. Energy is bursting and flowing in every corner: in the blooming plants, the echoes of birdsong, the rushing river. This is one of the best times of year to stroll through the woods and sit along the river, with so many little wonders popping up, and so much to take in and observe.
The temperature is perfect, and as I sit and meditate on all the nature coming to life around me, I get excited by all the potential — the upcoming harvest of wild and grown plants, the baby birds that will hatch, the outdoor adventures to be had. At the beginning of the month, we had a couple of big storms, with constant and heavy rain. I visited the cottage for part of these storms, and witnessed first-hand the power and necessity of the storms in kick-starting the spring growth.
These storms were wild and untamed. In the middle of the night, I opened the sliding door a crack to listen. The river was rushing so loud, as the wind blew and the spring peepers peeped, rejoicing in the rain through their song. I heard the crash of a tree far in the distance, either knocked over by the wind or being carried away by the river. I closed my eyes and took it all in. There was a strong and powerful energy brewing and boiling over, and I remembered that the river and the woods are truly wild places. The weather has the power to make them roar and come to life with the full force of spring.
In the calm aftermath the next morning, the bushes, skunk cabbage and mayapples were lush green. They had soaked up all the nourishment they needed to fully emerge. The river was high, and the mergansers and ducks were diving and relishing the water. The river remained high and rushed for the following weeks, providing the hydration and energy the entire river valley needed to burst fully alive. On another evening during that visit, I took a moment to stand in the drizzling rain, to feel what the plants must be feeling. Feeling the rain on my face, with the song of peepers surrounding me, the smell of lilacs in the nighttime air. Relishing in the feeling of the rain, bringing everything to life and helping the plants spring to full-being.
Many of my favorite birds have also returned this month! I’ve been watching the bluebirds, house wrens, and unfortunately a violent house sparrow, making their nests. And there are so many catbirds in the woods! Watching them hop around and make their unique call is so much fun! They’re always in pairs, hiding in the bushes, under the bramble and leaves. I watched one in particular hop in circles on the same branch under the foliage for such a long time, possibly evaluating it as a spot for her nest. The wildflowers have also returned — on one singular walk I’ve observed black haw, jack-in- the-pulpit, violet, ragwort, lady’s smock, honeysuckle and buttercup (See my Instagram reel documenting the experience!).
May is also the start of gardening season. This year, my garden is much smaller, living on our apartment balcony. Unlike the past few years, where I grew beans, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, greens and herbs big and small, I’ll only be growing small herbs (sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, chives, and three kinds of basil), lettuce and spinach. I’m also trying nasturtium flowers for the first time (a gift from my godmother) and growing a few more herbs indoors like rosemary and lemon balm.
At the beginning of May, I planted seeds and seedlings I got from Well-Sweep Herb Farm, my absolute favorite farm, a magical place with a huge selection of medicinal and culinary herbs, and native plants. I also went to their Herb Day Festival, which was so educational and a blast! The day was filled with lectures and vendors and events. I went on a plant identification walk and participated in a tea meditation, getting to know lemon balm through mindful tea sipping. The best part of the festival was being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals, who honor the earth and connect with nature through plants. Plus, the weather was gorgeous!
Our garden is overlooking what I think is the best view in town, with lush green hills in the distance. All day, a flock of swallows swoop overhead, a joy to witness. To my surprise, I’ve even seen a fox in the backyard and a heron fly twice overhead, even though we’re in a more urban area. I’m excited to nurture this tiny garden, and I can tell it’s going to be a special little space.
Lastly, as you may be able to tell, I live in the Northeast — but this month, I got to experience a new climate when my boyfriend and I went on vacation to Sedona, Arizona! I’ll be posting a second blog post about that experience in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout!
I hope you’re having a great spring, and are feeling the lively energy of May. Below are some pictures from throughout the month. As always, feel free to comment about what you’ve experienced this month!
Beautifully written piece! Your love for nature and appreciation for the small wonders of the world shines through every word. Reading about your experiences in May has left me feeling inspired and grateful for the beauty that surrounds us. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
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