On the first day of May, I led a creative writing class at a corporate retreat where thirty-five women shared some thoughts about the children they had been and the women they have become. “I’ll never forget the day my kindergarten teacher told me she could leave the room and she had no doubt I would teach the class!” exclaimed one. “I was a boss then, I’m a boss now,” laughed another. Powerful women populated the room – and bossy wasn’t a bad word.

A stunning number of women remembered riding bikes as kids – the freedom, independence, and power of those bikes, though they may not have said it in exactly those words.

“I have softened,” said another, quietly. “I learned I didn’t need to control everything.”

“I used to bring joy and energy to everything I did,” another reflected. “But I’ve focused on other people’s needs for a long time. Some important things about me have – faded,” she said. “Maybe not forever?”

The talk in the room was of family: children growing up. Parents aging. The worries these bring.

The talk in the room was of friendship: friendship with a spouse. Friendship with friends. The comfort these bring.

I arrived home – exhausted – to a yard that had many other things to say.

Things That Happen on the First Day of May

Magnolias drop their old leaves right on time,
Winter’s green gives way to aging Spring.

Just wait, the new buds promise –

Or don’t, croon tulip poplar blooms
their first day out
in shades of peachy keen.

The dogwoods
Are drunk and blowsy –

Marilyn Monroesy –

Good grief, whisper irises, purplish stern and mean.

A small snake bled in the grass –
dead –

The work of the mower –
His work in red.

The fairies dance
Where the fairies will
where the roots and the rock and the green grass fill
their hearts with joy.

They hid today –
The fairies are smart and savvy that way.

They know about men and their cutting blades
They know about women and their fearsome pens

Who try to pin down truth

Before it fades

*      *      *

Worth retreat at Evins Mill. Photo by Carolyn Thombs.

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