Marc rang in Shakespeare's birthday by running the Shakespeare half marathon in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1 hour and 52 minutes! I sat by the finish line and watched 3,000 runners go by in great pain all because they told themselves they would do it. I thought about how much I admire people who have that kind of self-discipline.
Then we rang in May Day (May 1) by watching Morris Dancers from the window as they danced up High Street, and I thought about how wonderful dance really is, and how we don't do it nearly enough, and how shameful it is for my generation that the extent of our dancing was standing around at Stomps or turning slowly in circles. There's no excuse for that.
And we took another stroll though Crackley Wood because it's bluebell season again, and I never stopped breathing deeply and turning in circles to see and smell the blanket of bluebells in all directions. And I thought about how May has for me always been a month of anticipation and joy, and sweet smells and fresh breezes: warmth returns, and school is almost out, and everything seems promising.
And Kenilworth Castle traveled back in time, to 1575, when Queen Elizabeth attended the biggest party in English history at the castle for 3 weeks. So we strolled down to the castle to see it all. And I thought about how lucky it is that I'm still fascinated by the period of history I'm studying, when I know so many other students who are burned out.
And we loved all the kids dressed in knight and princess costumes who eagerly met the Queen and listened to all her speeches.
And I also thought how comfortable my own clothes are and how amazingly easy it is for us to cook food: go to the grocery store, buy (for a couple pounds) a hunk of meat you did not have to raise, butcher, or pluck. Take it home in a motorized machine that gets you where you want to go quickly, and with air conditioning, and with music playing. Turn a knob to get your oven really hot. 30 minutes later, dinner is ready.
The whole event was to celebrate the grand opening of the Elizabethan gardens at the castle, a precise replica of the gardens that were built for Elizabeth's visit in 1575. Same rare Tudor plants and everything. And it made me pine for a yard and a garden!
But probably the best part was when Marc came home from volunteering at the recycle center on Saturday with a big grin on his face. He beckoned me out to the street where I found a new bike! I'd mentioned long ago how I would love a vintage bicycle and he found the perfect one (my size, too, which is hard to find) and spent hours restoring it to a perfect sparkly shine. And he added all the accessories, like a basket on the front. We went on a bike ride.
And I thought, May is going to be great.