Spring Defiance

It’s May the Fourth, which has specific relevance to Star Wars fans everywhere. It’s also the beginning of May, which some circles may connect with Jonathan Coulton’s “First of May” song, which is about something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.


The beginning of May to me is the celebration of relentless spring. Having lived most of my life in the northern part of the northern hemisphere, April never really feels much like spring to me. There’s too many blizzards yet to hit (anybody remember a couple of years ago and multiple feet of snow being dropped on Minnesota?), too many cold snaps that keep the leaves from unfurling and the flowers from wanting to poke out of the ground. In warmer places, spring has come and the march to summer is in full swing by the first of May, but for my lifetime, May is truly the point of no return on winter.

(Which isn’t to say I’ve never seen a snowstorm in May. Unfortunately, I have.)

There’s something about that momentum, that refusal to backslide. Yeah, the weather may play tricks, but there’s no holding back the life and warmth and rebirth in May. The sun is brighter, the sunsets and sunrises more colorful, the trees are greening, and it is a rolling tide of life that will not be denied. Some people watch the spring rise out of winter and see a gentleness of life waking up; I’ve always seen it as an act of defiance.

“Ha. You thought the cold could stop me? I’ll show you!”

So it is doubly appropriate that Sarah found this PBS clip and showed it to me. Because the butterflies, no matter how delicate, survive even winter and return to flight. The cold can’t dampen their spirits forever, and once they begin to take in the energy of the sun, what begins as a trickle turns into a flood of flight and color — and nobody could contain them all.

Even from a balcony, even in the midst of quarantine, the soul can still fly. And if all I can do today is fly and refuse to be pinned down by the state of the world, then that’s what I’m going to do. Today I am warm enough to shake off my wings and soar.

See you in the sky!