Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Is it still Vappu if there is no bonfire?

Last year we didn't do a May Day bonfire because conditions were too dry. This year there's no bonfire because the snow in the field is still more than knee deep and we don't feel like wading through it an attempt to torch a pile of sodden spruce boughs. Besides, how can it be May when snow is predicted for tomorrow?

It's been an odd year. Time is out of joint. January felt like it should be April, and now May feels like March. Last May everyone was worrying about wildfires; this year we all wanted the snow to be gone but now are worrying about what happens as it melts. The U.P. is thoroughly saturated, the CN tracks near our place have been underwater for a couple days, and a long section of state highway M-28 is closed because the Middle Branch of the Ontonagon decided to flow over a bridge instead of under it.

Not that this year is really that unusual. Last year was the aberration. This year is typical. I can recall that in my younger days (as in elementary school age) I used to wonder about a tradition I'd read about: May Day baskets. Ditto dancing around a May pole with flowers on one's head. I always wondered just where people got the flowers for the baskets and garlands I saw pictured because all I ever saw outside on May Day were melting snowbanks, mud, and once in a great while (if it was a particularly early Spring) a few crocuses.

Two more days until my birthday, and it's still looking like I'll be able to do some cross county skiing -- at least as long as I stick to the high ground.

[Actually, from what I hear, it's not truly a traditional Vappu unless there a  few drunks pissing on lamp posts, but this isn't Helsinki so we're out of luck in that department.]


  1. I'm sure enjoying the weather here, it seems extra nice for this time of year, once it warms up.

  2. I grew up in CA and we did make May baskets and took them around to our friends - I was wondering today about when that tradition stopped because my kids never did it.

    Happy Birthday - hope you get your skiing wish!

  3. I'm not enjoy the weather here in the Silly Cone Valley. It was 88 degrees when I got home, and I don't have air conditioning. This is *not* the kind of weather for penguins!

    - Badtux the Overheated Penguin

  4. 27 degrees and snowing. Time to dust off the skis.


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