Today will probably turn out to be the most beautiful day of 2010, the kind of day that makes all the mud, rain, sleet, snow, and ice worthwhile, because you can only enjoy it to the full if you have experienced all its predecessors. Blue, blue skies, green, green grass. A chilly breeze, a warm sun. And the kind of air that is often described as being like wine, but affects me more like a cup of strong coffee.
Spent a couple of hours carving a new piece of slate in the backyard, between the two apple trees, with the dogs for company. I like to listen to music while I carve, and I had it today, from every tree. Wolfie dragged a dead sapling out of the woods for him and Bisou to chew on. I heard the first serious, "don't mess with me" growl from Bisou today, when Wolfie was playfully trying to take some prized stick from her. She never once reprimanded him when he was after her day and night during her three weeks of heat, but a stick is a stick. He backed off, by the way.
After two hours of carving, what could be more delightful than two hours of chopping rhubarb? I've been avoiding the task by giving pounds and pounds of the wrist-thick stalks to the local food bank, but it was time to put some in our own freezer. I made things tolerable for myself by carting the newly-sharpened Chinese chopper, a chopping block, a box of gallon-size freezer bags, and two strainers full of washed rhubarb stalks to the picnic table and doing the job outdoors. More breezes, more sun, more songs from the tree-top coloraturas, and I was done.
I didn't really need a reward, but I gave myself one anyway. I went to the front field and climbed inside the movable fence and sat among my hens. I chatted with them quietly--I hadn't done this in a very long time--and before I knew it the Buff Orpingtons sidled up to me and the most daring one pecked at my shirt. The three pullets didn't reach these heights of courage, but did their best not to run away, and pecked at the grass while keeping an eye--a big, round, pullet eye--on me. I've often said that there is no more peaceful experience available in this unpeaceful world of ours than to sit in a field with grazing goats. But sitting in a field with pecking, chortling chickens runs a close second.
Had a short nap with Bisou in my arms. Went to yoga. Came home, where all was well. May Day indeed.
P.S. The cry for help "Mayday!" has nothing to do with the merry month. It comes from the French "M'aidez!" for "Help me!" I know all you French majors will shriek that in the affirmative imperative the object pronoun follows the verb, and for that matter is the stressed form of the pronoun, as in "Aidez-moi!" This is certainly true in modern French. The "Mayday!" version must have come into English around 1066.