Hooray — It’s May!

By Jim McGuire

Contributing columnist

It’s May! Hooray!

May is my hands-down favorite month, in my favorite of the four seasons. And I gotta tell you, I’m really, really glad May is here!

Green and gorgeous—full of sunshine and balmy breezes—May offers an abundance of natural riches. It’s a month always generous with its wealth of outdoor opportunities and adventures.

May’s only problem is its length…a paltry 31 days. That just plain isn’t long enough to sample and savor it all—though I certainly give it my best try.

Still, you can’t hold such plenitude against it.

Yup, I love May!

May is the month of my birth—a serendipitous blessing for which I can claim no part in arranging but am immeasurably thankful, nonetheless.

Maybe that explains, at least partially, why I’ve always been so fond of May—though I genuinely don’t think my besotted delight is merely a case of birthday favoritism.

Instead, I believe I’m so deeply infatuated because May is truly special—spring’s most wondrous and magical month. A burgeoning landscape, visibly resurrecting and regenerating, refurbishing itself in a thousand shades of green. The sweet, soft air is redolent with a captivating vernal perfume. Buds decorate the bushes and trees. And everywhere—fields and forest, prairies and wetlands—myriad wildflowers bloom in profusion, spattering the awakening earth in a rainbow of hues.

From dawn to dusk, May’s days inspire a vast avian chorus—feathered songsters who suffuse the month’s background with their ebullient music.

I tell you, I’ve been waiting and dreaming and longing for May since mid-winter. I do my best to restrain such thoughts as long as I can. But I give in eventually and allow myself to begin thinking about this fifth month, eagerly anticipating its advent.

I always have high hopes, make big plans—and when May finally does roll around, I’m rarely disappointed. Which is not always the case with other months…and brings me to a confession.

As a fanatical whole-spring addict, zealous in my enthusiasm for the season in its entirety, it pains me to admit I’m happy to see this year’s iteration of April fading in the rearview mirror.

I want to enjoy and adore every single spring day—every vernal moment. But April proved sorely disappointing this time around. And I don’t think I’m being overly critical.

Sure, I know spring is fickle—a volatile, vacillating, capricious season. It can—and does—change its mood and weather in fits and starts, backtracking and skittish, as if it can’t quite decide how to forge or follow the path forward.

But I’ve witnessed plenty of Ohio springs in my time. I’m familiar with the month and season’s overall shape and permutations. I’m prepared for moody and exasperating.

I also don’t expect much of those few days of official spring we count in late-March, following the passing equinox. After all, March is mostly winter, and you gotta give a season time to get up and running. Spring doesn’t happen slam-bang right out of the gate!

But April…well, let’s just say I envisioned better behavior from April. Being spring’s true kick-off, the season’s vanguard, I usually rate it right up there among my top tier of months—barely behind my beloved May.

April is when spring should most visibly start—the transitioning period when an awakened landscape begins stirring and changing, coming alive.

However, 2022’s version of April was anything but typical. In fact, you could have easily mistaken it for nothing more than an extension of March. In fact, both late-March and all of April served up an inordinate amount of cold, dreary weather—including freezing nights and the occasional snow!

To my mind, the pair of ‘em way too often looked and felt like winter! Regardless of what the calendars and almanacs claimed, spring was rarely in either of their days or demeanors!

And, yes, I remember those few unseasonably warm and golden days sprinkled in there. False sparkles of fool’s gold, much enjoyed, but I suspect reprieves meant to lull and distract before another unseasonable arctic blast froze us to the core!

Shameful April was especially disappointing in this regard. And it carried on this way right up to the end. Even this past week we needed to have a fire in the woodstove every night, and generally the morning half of most days.

I can’t say I’ve burned more firewood keeping warm over the course of this year’s heating season—but I’ve certainly burned more during April than any other April in the 14 years since I installed our stove and we switched exclusively to wood heating.

Last weekend, I even had to saw and split another half-cord of seasoned ash, just to feel safe! And a good thing I did, too! We needed a few armloads of that wood.

Nope, this year’s April was a fraudster, and I’m glad to see it go! Which is a statement I never thought I’d make.

But, hey—that’s enough griping and whining and ranting. Things have changed! My mother always said, “Have patience, better days are coming.”

As usual, Mom was right!

May is here—green, gorgeous, glorious May!

Hooray!

Question or comment? Reach me at: [email protected]

Jim McGuire, a nature columnist, resides in Englewood, and can be reached at [email protected]