May Day bank holiday has its origins the celebration of the feast of Bealtaine and, in latter times, Mary’s Day. Traditionally bonfires would be lit to mark the coming of summer and to grant luck to people and livestock. Officially May Day bank holiday is the first Monday in May.
We definitely got a taste of summer last week and I’m glad to say Mother Nature is bursting into bloom. April showers bring forth May flowers and that’s for sure at the moment.
I went out on my bike and headed up Dunmurry Lane to Lady Dixon Park where I was awakened to the beauty of Mother Nature, the darling buds of May were bursting on the trees and a kaleidoscope of flowers dazzled my eyes with their colour. I could do nothing but stop and take it all in.
It was as if I had just emerged from monochrome to colour as I admired the majesty of nature.
My favourite spot in Dixon's has to be the Japanese garden and, true to form, I wasn’t let down by its picturesque simplicity. The pond was filled with marine life topped with gigantic lilies. The little stepping bridge that takes you across the pond had reeds popping up between each stone. I always get a sense there of Mother Nature beckoning me to slow down and ingest.
I sat down on a large rock and found myself settling into meditation and contemplation in the beauty that was all around me. The birdsong was unbelievable as they sang my favourite song – start again, start again, start again. After drinking in the beauty of my surroundings, I got back on my trusty steed and headed for the Lagan towpath, destination Lisburn.
What I love about cycling is that whenever I sit in my saddle I become a wee boy again, filled with a sense of wonder. And when it comes too wonder, nature is the teacher of teachers. Cycling along the towpath I was greeted by cows, sheep, ducks and swans, all of them teachers of the here and now.
The cows chewing the cud, sheep grazing and lambs jumping with joy. Swans gracefully gliding on the Lagan and ducks teaching their ducklings how to navigate the Lagan.
All fills me with awe and fills me with gratitude. It gives me that amazing feeling of it's great to be alive and to be part of this motion picture called my life.
Of course my camera came out as I caught the moment to share with others. Was there any particular part of that journey better than others? My answer is definitely no. It was the journey itself that enriched my soul.
Footnote: Remember the story of the hen that ruled Cupar street? Amazingly, I was contacted by one of the gang members who I haven’t been in contact with for well over fifty years. The power of the Andersonstown News made its way to sunny Melbourne and I was contacted by one of the band of brothers and we have agreed to Zoom later this week.