May Day

Two minutes of research in cyberspace taught me that May Day, a celebration of the arrival of Spring, has no relation whatsoever to the international distress call, May Day! Repeated three times on your ship to shore radio, the call is an Anglicized version of m’aider, or help me.

It’s definitely Spring here in the Applachian foothills. Mid-week, tornadoes missed us by scant miles, but go down in the charts as one of the deadliest outbreaks in history. We returned from a week at the beach to find the azaleas washed out but plumbago, Mexican petunias and impatiens bursting with blooms.

What didn’t belong to us were the half a dozen shingles and wads of insulation in the yard. I found a twisted, creased and muddy manila folder nestled in the monkey grass. The tab reads Chapter 1-Nature of Intelligence. I wish I could return the folder and its contents to the owner. We’re praying for all those who suffered damage and loss. And, in a more material fashion, we’ll be contributing to the relief efforts.

Last week on the Gulf Coast, we planted a group of oleanders to provide a screen between our ground-level grilling and sitting area and the house next door, which has become a short-term rental and is often filled with college students. Nothing against exuberant parties or mass quantities of alcohol, but they’ll appreciate a little more privacy as much as we will.

According to my old standard gardening book, the oleanders will grow 8-12 feet tall and spread 6-8 feet. They have no soil preference and tolerate drought. In fact, they’re recommended for desert conditions. That’s what our barrier island is–a desert. Though we sometimes experience fierce storms, it’s more often a passing shower. We saw the first vivid magenta bloom cluster yesterday. In three weeks, we’ll see if they truly thrive on neglect.


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