May title.
If you had the right plug-in, you would be hearing nice music now.
Gladys's unicorn.

Down the dark wood, the silver unicorn
Tramples the fern with hoof of ivory,
But leaves no mark; his delicate, pale horn
Curves silver by the blossoming apple tree.
Silent he moves, nipping the violets
That star the quiet orchard blue and white,
No sound evokes the echo when he lets
His breast sink softly on the slope of night.

Child of old legend, I have know him well,
Who walks May meadows when the moon is clear,
Though it be fatal to attest his spell,
The heart finds nothing else on earth as dear.
Inconsequential all the truths of day
To one who meets the unicorn in May!

Spring was a joyous season for Taber. She reveled in the new life springing forth all around her -the blossoming trees and flowers, the birdsong. Perhaps her greatest joy was to roam the garden and the woods and fields around Stillmeadow, her beloved dogs by her side, drinking in all the loveliness around her, to pause and to dream..We all need to dream.

Little rose

May is a month for dreaming. The rich fulfillment of summer is not yet come, and the stern reality of winter is one with all time past. Winter, I think, has the frosty visage of a Puritan, and has no traffic with light-mindedness, And summer is like a Greek goddess, templed in green and robed in moon-silver, but she carries in her hand the dark secret seed of sorrow, for she forecasts beauty that must die.

But May is enchantment without shadow, May is the sweetness of love and the mystery of blossoming. And in May the faerie folk come back to our New England hills from the lands beyond the sunset. For they like May too!

Little rose

My unicorn stamps his silver hoofs on the massed wild violets in the light of the May moon, and the glossy heart shaped leaves bend as he passes. He crops the dark-purple and blue-and-white violets, and his polished silver horn lifts the delicate rosy bells of the wild bush honeysuckle as he moves up the hill. To look on the fatal beauty of the unicorn is to die, according to legends, but some folk look and live to tell of it, or how would we know what the unicorn looks like?

May is like lyric poetry, and is the time to read it, preferably aloud to someone you love. Poetry ought to be read aloud anyway, because the sound of the words is music. Like the music of Yeats:

"I will arise and go now, and go to Innesfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade."

Little rose

It is good for us, I think, to keep as much joy in life as we can. We busy ourselves with so many things that are not of the heart and spirit. We worry about money, we agonize over the terrible state of the world, we fret at household duties or business minutiae, we work, we argue, we squander our strength in a million ways.
And all the time the wonder of life is around us, the ecstasy of breathing air ravished by apple blossoms, of walking on fern-cool driftways, of listening to young leaves moving in the moonlight, and of seeing the twilight stars in the violet bowl of the sky. There is joy enough for one spring day to furnish forth the world, if we but knew it.

On the warm, moon-clear May nights we like to sit out in the Quiet Garden. I call it a Quiet Garden, because it is filled with quiet old-fashioned flowers and herbs - a place to be tranquil in. In one corner, the old crooked apple tree is drifted with the white miracle of the apple blossoms. The low white picket fence which encloses the small flagged area is half hidden by the young green of the rambler roses. The herbs are up; the lavender came through the bitter winter safely

This is a spring garden, blue and white with accents of pale pink; it is small and simple as gardens go, the kind any woman could have on the smallest city lot. And how lovely it is. Tall ivory-white tulips, blue-lavender tulips, white narcissus, blue grape hyacinths, white and blue hyacinths, and white and lavender iris bloom there in spring. There are the gray-blue violets called Confederate violets in Virginia. There are rosy cups of primroses, very early to blossom; and by the time the late iris is gone, the pink ramblers are coming.

The picket fence was supposed to protect the fragile stalks of tulips and narcissus from the dogs, but that was before we had Maeve. I don't know just how high she can jump, but I know it breaks all high-jump records. She clears anything around Stillmeadow in those long lovely leaps. We try to persuade her that Irish-setter red is beautiful against white tulips, but not mixed right in together.

We made the mistake of planting grass between the gray-rose flagstones when we began the Quiet Garden. Grass grows too fast, too thick, and mowing the stones is impossible. so we are gradually replacing grass with lemon thyme, which smells good when you walk on it, and never, never needs mowing.

On these clear, still, spring nights the sound of the planes going over comes with sudden emphasis. when I look up, the plane seems to be like a ship sailing through the stars. I imagine the people in every one that passes. There they go, travelers in the sky, bound for mysterious destinations. In their separate worlds they live and move and have their being, and when they go over this green valley, they do not even know that we exist.

This is a humbling thought. On our forty-acres-more-or-less we lead our intricate busy lives, and yet how small are our concerns viewed from the night sky above! Is it, then, so important to fret over window washing, furniture waxing, floor scrubbing? We ought to spend more time, I think, opening our heart to the beauty of the world, especially in May. Just looking and feeling and smelling the brave sweet fragrances of spring.

From Stillmeadow Seasons

May in New England is so close to Heaven that I wonder how the early preachers managed to keep the eyes of their people turned to the future life. Nobody could help being dazzled by the beauty of this world if he rode down a Connecticut country highway in the soft sweet light of a May morning. heaven enough for me, at any rate; I wish everybody could see it

The fruit trees have a breathless loveliness. The crabapple tree has starry, snowy blossoms and smells delicious. The bees work there, and a smooth dark catbird sits on the topmost bough. There is the pink apple tree down the meadow. Jill's little sour cherry is a mere corsage compared to the old trees - some Greek goddess should be wearing it.
As if all this weren't enough, the tulips are running out, since we haven't planted new bulbs in a number of years. But the pale gold and white and red and mauve are just as pretty, I think, in the smaller versions. In an old bubble-glass bowl they look lovely.

The primroses have spread, and so have the violets. The primroses are red with bright yellow centers, or pale creamy yellow with gold hearts. The little clusters make the best bouquets; miniature doll pitchers are just right for them, or small antique bottles - which, I suppose, were pill bottles once. My favorite violets are pearl white with blue centers. Massed in a small creamer, they are just as delicate as the primroses are vigorous.

Jill planted a bevy of Johnny-jump-ups and put in pansies. she had considerable help from the spaniels, but managed to save part of a bed by covering it over with wire fencing. Tigger loves to roll in a freshly planted flower bed, and among the vegetables too. Esme is chasing the first white butterflies of the season.

The white lilacs are the sweetest, but the purple have a thicker cluster. We have two French lilacs; one is a true blue, named President Lincoln, and is wonderfully fragrant.

All through the country you see old lilac clumps:

"A house once stood here, many years ago,
For there are tall old lilacs in a row,
And apple trees that mist the air in spring
With a pink blossoming.
By a green rosebush, you may mark the garden bed.
These are her memories, that passers-by may know
A house once stood here, many years ago."

The white light of the moon falls on the blossoming fruit trees, on the sleeping meadows, on the far dark of the hills. All's well at Stillmeadow in the lovely May night.

When I am wakeful, I like to listen to the stillness of the hours after midnight. The very wings of peace fold over our valley. I can feel how good the world is, and how un-natural it is for mankind to be so ridden with with fear and hate. We are all born into the same world, we breath the same air, that miraculous envelope wrapped round our small planet, we are nourished on the same fare of food and water, and we are one in death at the end.

Seeing this is so, we are communally bound together. We are brothers, whether we like it or not! And every time we invent a nice new buzz bomb or a jet rocket, it is our own whom we prepare to destroy.

The moon is wiser, for she sheds equal light over the hills of Judea and the silvered meadows outside my New England window.

From The Book of Stillmeadow

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