If April showers bring May flowers, your bunny buddy now lives in a blooming greenhouse. Yes, record rainfall and stupendous snowfall are causing even the deserts to bloom. For years, the long-term drought in California has caused a lack of wildflowers. With the recent floods and deep snow in the mountains, the full extent of this year’s super bloom in California won’t be clear until peak bloom hits places like Lassen Volcanic National Park in the northern part of the state. Peak bloom is expected there in June or July, after all the snow there has thawed.
However, the second week of May is National Wildflower Week. The wildflowers growing by the side of public roads and in national parks are protected. Don’t pick wildflowers or their seed heads there. On private property, ask permission before picking them. Obtain seeds from reliable sources that cultivated the flowers for their seeds. When choosing flowering plants that aren’t wild or naturalized in your area, mimic their growing conditions. You may have to supplement rainfall with occasional watering and/or fertilizing. While we’ve had a good rain this year, xeriscaping or planting your lawn with wildflowers or local plants is a great way to save on water. It won’t look like a manicured carpet, however. Maybe your flowerbeds can get wider each year until the carpet is gone.
I visited the Lassen Volcanic National Park last October when I journeyed out west to visit the grand rabbits. While I could have flown over all this great land we call America, I decided to travel by car. We have too many beautiful natural treasures which we protect and conserve in our national parks. Also, after several years of confinement due to the pandemic, I had some pent up travelling in my blood. The park is 166 square miles large and contains the world’s largest plug volcano, which was first active 27,000 years ago. It last erupted in 1917 when the park was set aside.
This is also the site of the great 2021 Dixie Fire, which started on July 13, and burned for 104 days. Five California counties and 963,276 acres burned. Why would anyone outside of the immediate area care about this? The forests in Lassen Volcanic National Park can store almost as much carbon as 600,000 Americans emit in one year. Unfortunately, park forests are dying from a combination of threats: increased drought, wildfire, and pathogens like beetles and blister rust. Lassen Volcanic Park rangers are working to protect vulnerable tree species through monitoring, research, and management actions whenever necessary and appropriate.
As a rabbit of faith, I live on this earth, and as long as I live here, I’m called to care for it, to do no harm to it, and to heal it where it’s hurting. This is the same calling I have for our fellow creatures, for the same God created us all and cares for us all equally. I love the wildflowers so much, I even stop on the roadside to take a selfie among them. The Highway Patrol in Liberty, North Carolina doesn’t take kindly to strangers taking selfies among their precious poppies. I was “checked out” and asked to “move along.” Perhaps they’re not used to rabbits with cameras? I do seem to attract the attention of the local law whenever I’m out photographing.
Other weekly celebrations we rabbits can enjoy in May are:
Week One—Be Kind to Animals Week and Nurse’s Week
Week Three—National Bike Week and National Police Week
Week Four—Emergency Medical Services Week
Some celebrations get the entire month of May. Among them are:
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
Older Americans and Foster Care Month
Gifts from the Garden and National Salad Month
Lupus Awareness and National Blood Pressure Month
National Barbecue and National Hamburger Month
Date Your Mate and National Photograph Month
National Bike Month
In 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3rd each year to be World Press Freedom Day. This is a UN Sponsored annual event. A free press is a bedrock necessity for democracy to thrive. When ruling powers control the messages which the rabbit population gets to hear, we rabbits only hear one side of the story. This discourages freedoms of thought and expression of opinion. While democracy sometimes seems messy, the voices of the majority will ultimately prevail. Yet the voices of the marginalized must be recognized and respected, for their rights can’t be curtailed to please the majority. A free press brings both voices to light.
May 4–The National Day of Prayer always happens on the first Thursday of May. This year it coincides with “May the Fourth Be with You” day. Each of these celebrations speaks to the deep need within the rabbit heart for a connection to a power greater than ourselves. At some point in time, each one of us will realize our ego self is really a false self or mask of bravado and competence. When we cast off this mask, we might feel naked toward the world, but God or the Force can finally fill our emptiness. Most rabbits will never take off this false mask, however, for being naked in God’s or the Force’s presence is unimaginable to us.
May 5–Cinco de Mayo is always on May 5th. I was playing cards with some rabbit friends the other night. One has a grand baby born on Cinco de Mayo. “What day is Cinco de Mayo?” he asked. “It’s always May 5th, silly.”
“Why is that?” All the card players answered, “Because Cinco de Mayo is a date, like Christmas is a date, when something important happened.”
This is a group of white rabbits, as you may have gathered, but some of us have spent time in Hispanic communities. The Mexican army defeated the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This single military battle signified the defeat of a European colonial power, a victory for the Mexican people, and is the root of Cinco de Mayo. Mexican Independence Day is September 15th. We can celebrate along with our brother and sister rabbits by sharing Mexican food and drink, enjoying music, and dancing. And what rabbit doesn’t love the excuse for a party?
While we American rabbits cast off our colonial bonds back in the 18th century, some of us have never lost our fascination with the royal family and their sagas. Plus we’re always up for a celebration if it means drink and cake. After the death of Queen Elizabeth, her son Charles became King of England. His official coronation ceremony will be smaller in many respects than Elizabeth’s: only 2,000 guests rather than 8,000 and business or military attire will be worn, but no tiaras or ermines allowed.
Since 1066, Westminster Abbey has been the site for regal coronations , beginning with William the Conqueror on Christmas Day. The St. Edwards Crown weighs in at 5 pounds, so the new monarch will live out the saying, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” (Shakespeare, Henry IV. Part II, 1597). While the Crown Jewels are considered priceless, a 2019 study found in total, the coronation crown would cost $4, 519, 719. That would buy a bunch of carrots and then some!
The Stone of Destiny (also known as the Stone of Scone) is an ancient sandstone block weighing 336 pounds, which was used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish kings before being seized in 1296 by King Edward I, who had it built into a throne at Westminster Abbey. There it lay until Christmas Day 1950, when, in an audacious caper, four Scottish nationalist students tried to steal it and take it back north of the border. Eventually, in 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland. Now, top-secret and high-security preparations are being made to take it back down to Westminster Abbey for the coronation.
If the rabbit ears on your Telly are angled just right, and your alarm clock goes off in time, you can watch special coverage from Saturday, May 6, from 5 to 10 a.m. ET on your local ABC station. If you have a BBC streaming service, they’ll definitely carry the public events, including the concert on the day after. This will be a public holiday in Great Britain, of course. Both Apple and Spotify have official playlists (link below).
After the early morning British crowd, if you’ve swilled enough caffeine and nibbled enough scones (the pastry kind, not the stones) you can chill with a mint julep and the Kentucky Horse Royalty congregating at the Derby’s 149th Run for the Roses. This year, of the twenty horses lined up for the opening bell, eight have a pedigree traced to the Triple Crown winner of 50 years ago, Secretariat. No horse has ever matched his magnificence or personality. To watch him pull away from the pack and leave them in his dust was a wonder to behold. He’d be waiting for those stragglers in the winner’s circle when they finally crossed the finish line, and be looking at their sweating, huffing hulks, as if he were thinking, “What took you guys so long?” One of a kind, Secretariat won the 1973 Derby, coming from last to first, and five decades later, he’s still the Derby record holder at 1:59 2/5.
If you attend in person, the dress code is “Business Casual:” Jackets and blazers, vests, shirts with collars, sweaters, dresses, pantsuits, slacks and capri pants are appropriate. Hats are expected. If watching from your rabbit den, anything goes. Coverage is on NBC from 12 noon to 7:30 pm ET. The race itself goes off at 6:57 pm ET. That’s a lot of mint juleps, so pace your imbibing or you’ll miss the actual race itself.
On May 8, 1908 the US Senate voted against Mother’s Day! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Afterall, at that time, only men could vote and all the holidays honored men. Maybe those senators realized what side their bread was buttered on. A day to honor the Grandpaws might have passed with votes to spare. The women behind this cause weren’t to be denied. Even before the ratification of the 19th ammendment giving them the right to vote in August of 1920, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a perpetual memorial day of honor to mothers everywhere.
We rabbits today can’t even imagine any of our elected officials treating us as less than our brothers before the law, disrespecting the 14th Amendment of our Constitution:
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Today some of our legislators seem to live in a distant century, having traveled there with the cartoon Sherman in Mr. Peabody’s WABAC (way-back) machine. I sometimes wish this way-back machine had enough power to transport its passengers back to the earliest days of creation. Maybe having a front row seat and hearing God’s voice in God’s act of creating the first human beings would work a mighty change in their hearts and minds:
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
~~ Genesis 1:27
May 25–Carry a Towel Day. If you are at loss to understand this holiday, please read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Understanding The Galaxy. When the earth is moments away from demolition by aliens so they can construct an intergalactic highway, Ford Perfect saves young Arthur Dent. Together they travel across space and time to find the meaning of the universe and return to save earth. If you aren’t into this holiday, the good news is it’s also National Wine Day. Splurge on a fine vintage, invite a friend or two over to share the conversation and discuss the meaning of life.
Memorial Day will be celebrated on Monday, May 29, for the 3 day federal and state holiday. The banks will also close. Some of my Southern rabbit cousins still refuse to recognize Monday as Memorial, because “It ought to be on the 31st, like it was in granddaddy’s day.” I note they still attend the family picnics and shoot off firecrackers over the weekend. They are old bunnies and have gotten somewhat crotchety as the years have put a kink in their hop. I find myself getting older also, but I keep reminding myself each new day is a blessing and an opportunity for growth. I try to keep learning new things so my brain will keep adjusting to new challenges.
As the calendar passes from May to June, the weather will beckon us to spend more time outdoors, so let’s remember these words written in 1848 from the Rev. Charles Kingsley, also known as Parson Lott:
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful. Beauty is God’s hand-writing—a way-side sacrament; welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower, and thank for it Him, the fountain of all loveliness, and drink it in, simply and earnestly, with all your eyes; it is a charmed draught, a cup of blessing.”
Or as the ancient manuscript illuminator wrote, Cum severitate lenitas (Even in harshness, there is mercy.).
Until June, I leave you with joy, peace, and rainbows,
King Charles Coronation Playlist https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a43399168/king-charles-coronation-playlist-spotify/
More May Holidays
Dixie Fire Statistics
Lassen Volcano National Park
Westminster Abbey Stone of Scone
A Coronation F.A.Q.
2023 Kentucky Derby
Beauty is God’s Handwriting
How Much is the British Coronation Crown Worth? https://britishheritage.com/history/edwards-coronation-crown-worth