If you go into the woods today…

The first of May, also known as Mayday or Beltane, is a day a romance and life. It’s the midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice, and flowers are in full bloom. Dance the maypole with a group, go a-maying with your sweetheart, or have a nice bath and remember to love yourself. Two books I adore open on Mayday: Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. While the movies of these books are absolutely charming, they take so many liberties that I honestly consider them totally separate stories from their source material. The movies are fun and cute, but the books are treasures that I reread every year. I don’t want to say too much about them for fear of spoilers, but really… have a read. They are exciting fairy tales with the perfect slash of darkness through their cores.

When I was teaching, I looked forward to May as the end of the school year. Even though school in the U.S. doesn’t let out until the end of May, the general air of excitement made the days fly by. Also I taught seniors, so they got out midway through. On days the I subbed, I would play Oregon Trail on an emulator, using students’ names, and let them know when they broke an arm or died of dysentery. I’m not sure how professional that is, but the kids seemed to enjoy it. Haha!

Oregon Trail

As of last week, I’ve finished all of my pressing tasks. My storage unit is clear and out of my name. I’ve said goodbye to my car. I will need to sort what I have left to my name and see what can be donated or given away and what will be kept until I can get it overseas. One day I might itemize all I’ve given up to move to London. Really… almost everything I owned. It’s frightening when you spend so  much of your time nesting. I’m not materialistic, but going from having a home’s worth of possessions to nothing is daunting. I’m just happy my mom was able to take my bed, so I don’t have to do without that. My memory foam pillow, body pillow, and weighted blanket will live in a drawer for whenever I visit. I’m glad to have my sleep items with me. I can endure almost anything if I get a good night’s sleep.

Irises by van Gogh

Here are May’s suggestions for little ways to enrich your life:

  • Reading for Fun: Stardust by Neil Gaiman. You can find it on Amazon, and here is a free reading on YouTube. I recommend seeing the movie first, to be honest, because the book is always better, and you’ll feel betrayed that the movie took so many liberties once you’ve read the novel. I did anyway.
  • For a Challenge: Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus. You can find it free online or on Amazon, and here is a free reading on YouTube.
  • Artist: Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Look above and below for examples of his art.
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi. Here is a sampling of his work.
  • Movement: Workout sets (squats, side bends, calf raises, leg lifts, etc.). Most gyms offer a free visit and a session with a personal trainer, who can tailor a workout to your personal abilities and goals. You can ask for a routine that doesn’t involve any machines if you aren’t interested in joining a gym. The more you know!
  • Game: King’s Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder, an adventure game by Sierra. You can find it on GOG along with games 4 and 6 of the series. This one took time to grow on me, but I’ve grown to enjoy even its comical flaws.
  • Snacks: Banana. Here are some nutritional facts about this berry. Yes, it’s a berry!
  • Scent: Vanilla. A popular scent to be sure. I enjoy blending it with peppermint or lavender.
  • Meditation: Body Scan. Here is a video that guides you through the process.
  • Journaling Theme: In your journal, doodle flowers or a full garden. Dots of color, clusters of blobs, or finely aligned circles all translate beautifully into flowers on the page.

Try to incorporate as many of these into your life as possible over the course of May. Keep what you like. Nix what you don’t.

The Olive Trees by van Gogh

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