Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Celebrating May Day

The first of May was celebrated in Bermuda with extravagant flower structures, much like those of the Rose Bowl in past years. Giant cakes decorated with hibiscus, Easter lilies, and such thickly woven into a seamless design that appears at a distance like a real cake. Young girls in spritely costumes dance with streamers around the May Pole, weaving a design that, once finished, is left for the wind to untangle.

This is an ancient celebration, pagan in origin, that celebrated the flowering of the earth. The May Pole dance has been noted mostly in England, but as far away as India and in the coldness of May in Bavaria, where the celebration was sometimes moved to June. In some places both girls and boys participated in the May Pole Dance with girls moving counter clockwise and boys moving clockwise. Sometimes these dances were choreographed; the dancers would wind the streamers around the May Pole in elaborate patterns and then unwind them.

What a wonderful symbol of the complexities of relationships! We bind ourselves into elaborate patterns with some streamers hidden from view and others taking prominent places; then someone in the dance makes a misstep and the pattern is changed. Gradually that part of our lives reaches a stopping point and the pattern begins to unwind. If we're paying attention to the pattern, the unwinding occurs without tangles, but if we zig when we should have zagged, tangles occur. Left to the wind, the streamers eventually unwind themselves and other dancers take their places to form different patterns with other missteps and tangles.

We cannot control the other dancers; we can only do our part. And, when things are hopelessly tangled, perhaps all we can do is let the wind take over and gently ease out the tangles.

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