This morning, I flipped my various calendars, and now it is the lovely month of May. Today, a French-Canadian friend wrote on Facebook, “C’est le mois de Marie…C’est le mois le plus beau.” The lyrics are from a French song: “It is the month of Mary…It is the most beautiful month.” Indeed it is, even with blackflies to plague us. (Luckily, they haven’t arrived in central Maine yet.)
For native Mainers, it goes like this: March is the cruelest month, April is a month of hope, and May is a month of such dazzling beauty that it almost makes you drunk just looking at all the flowers and budding trees and rich green grass. C’est le mois le plus beau.
It is also a month of much work for this home gardener. I am happy to report that at the little house in the big woods, the lawns are nearly raked, and that chore will be finished today. Then it will be on to the flower beds—removing the leaves, adding compost, organic fertilizer, and wood ash. With so many coniferous trees surrounding the house, the beds always need something to reduce the acidity in the soil.
Although my creaky knees complain at the end of the day, I so enjoy working in my yard. As I’ve noted before, it is amazing to me how yard work always trumps such inside chores as dusting and vacuuming. I even find it pleasurable to hang laundry on the line. In short, I love being outside, especially after a long, hard winter of being mostly inside. By March—and here we return to that charmless month in Maine—being inside so much comes to feel a little confining, to say the least.
The dog is now in his glory. I let him out mid-morning, and he spends most of his day by the gate that leads to and from the backyard. From this spot, he can survey the comings and goings on Narrows Pond Road. Nothing escapes Liam’s notice: walkers, bikers, other dogs, and they all get what they deserve—much barking and racing back and forth.
Liam is a Sheltie, a herding dog, and I expect he is guarding the yard. It is a job he takes seriously, and like most herding dogs, he is very intense about it. I hesitate to ascribe feelings to another creature—human or not—but if I had to guess, then I would say that Liam gets a lot of satisfaction from his job of guarding the yard. When Liam is inside, it is clear that he wants to be outside, ready to race and bark at a moment’s notice.
So at the little house in the big woods, both the dog and the human are happy. We each have our work to do, and while we take our jobs seriously, they give us great pleasure, too. (Alas, this is not true for all people with their jobs, but this will be a topic for another time.)
C’est le mois de Marie. For those who live in the northern New England, rejoice!