Happy May Day! Hope someone has given you a fistful of flowers in celebration. Ancient pagans honored May Day as the beginning of summer and I’m inclined to join them this year.
For me, that’s an easy call. Our summer travel is coming early this year; we are going to Switzerland later in May and spending a little over two weeks roaming around from Geneva to Bern to Zurich. Mick has a conference in Bern; I’m tagging along since Switzerland is a country I’ve not been to. Mick hasn’t been there before either. We’re both excited.
With this sort of trip looming, I’ve been thinking a lot about traveling lightly. Minimal luggage. Underwear that dries fast. Neutral colors – every black t-shirt I own so I don’t have to think about what matches what. Shoes that go everywhere. Using my iPhone camera instead of lugging my Nikon. An iPad for books and magazines instead packing of a couple of paperbacks for the airplane. One pair of earrings in my ears – no extras. I discovered I love thinking about how little I can take so that a carry-on is all I need for those couple of weeks. Roaming the world with very little baggage seems like the perfect way to kick off the summer. And it seems like the perfect way to opt out of all kinds of unnecessary stress. Can’t fret over what to put on in the morning if I don’t have extra clothes to fret over. And, really, I want to remember what the streets of Geneva, the peaks of the Alps, the taste of chocolate from somewhere in Lausanne, and the food from a restaurant in Bern are like, not what I had on that day. I also want to be sure that I can carry my bag easily, shove it up into the airplane bin or a shelf on a train without much effort.
And, of course, there’s the offline piece of travel that I embrace. I am really looking forward to ignoring emails, social media posts, and maybe much of the news for those couple of weeks. I often take breaks from being online in the summer anyway, home or not, because it allows me to sink into summer like I did when I was a kid. Those endless days with barely a ripple through the air, with lazy movement and time as a luxury that could be put to use for doing nothing.
This year, I’d really like a whole lot of nothing for the summer. A whole lot of time spent outside just listening, observing, being.
And so, today, May Day is just the beginning of warmth, languor, late sunsets, early sunrises, starry nights, room to breathe. The season of moving around without a lot of baggage no matter where you are. I like that idea.
And Now for A Small Commercial
Many of you know that I am one of the editors at Gyroscope Review, a contemporary quarterly poetry journal. Today, at the Gyroscope Review website, I’ve posted my review of Blackbird by Laura Grace Weldon, a book of poems published earlier this year by Grayson Books. I had a lot to say about this book and I invite you to pop on over to Gyroscope Review to take a look.