Last night we had April showers, and today is a drippy day.
While I was out taking pictures, I heard a nuthatch’s call, and I spotted the little creature on the roof.
As I was walking around the yard, I thought of silly little snippet my daughters liked when they where young.
What do April showers bring?
And what do Mayflowers bring?
Ah, Pilgrims, those stern settlers of New England. To be fair, they had their good points. With their emphasis on individual choice merged with community, Pilgrims (aka Puritans) were the motivators for yearly town meetings, which to this day is the democratic and sometime contentious governing force in many small towns in Maine. With their desire to create a “Godly society through educated citizens,” Puritans established the school laws of 1642, which encouraged literacy and universal education. In 1636, Harvard was founded, and in 1711, one of the first public libraries opened in Boston.
It cannot be denied that the Puritans were a bloody bunch in their early days, but no bloodier than any other group. Those were bloody times, both here and in England and Europe.
But now I must be blunt, and I apologize to readers who come from Puritan stock. The worst thing about the Puritans was that they were party poopers extraordinaire. In fact, they waged a war against Christmas, and found the holiday to be a pagan “abomination” totally unsupported by Scripture. The Puritans referred to Christmas as “Foolstide,” and for a time it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in New England.
Did the Puritans stop with Christmas? They did not. According to Wikipedia, “In his award-winning book Creating the Commonwealth (1995) historian Stephen Innes writes that the Puritan calendar was one of the most leisure-less ever adopted by mankind with approximately 300 working days compared to the 240 typical of cultures from Ancient Rome to modern America. Days of rest in the New England calendar were few, Innes writes, and restricted to Sabbath, election day, Harvard commencement day, and periodic days of thanksgiving and humiliation. Non-Puritans in New England deplored the loss of the holidays enjoyed by the laboring classes in England.”
And May Day, that wild and wonderful celebration of fertility and spring and flowers? No, no, and no. (Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about this in his short story “The May-Pole of Merry Mount.”)
After wandering around the wet yard and taking pictures and thinking about Pilgrims, I decided it was time to come in for breakfast and for my morning’s work on the computer.
But one last silly thought. In my mind’s eye, when the Pilgrims left England, I see the country collectively waving “Buh-Bye. And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”