Sunday, May 01, 2011

May Day

While May Day — in any of its forms — has faded as a public holiday, turned more into an extra day of personal or family vacating rather than mass public celebration, marking the day still seems worthy, whether as a pseudo-(or not-so-pseudo)-pagan celebration of the arrival of spring, with garlands and dances around the maypole and other such minor bacchanalia, or as a day honoring labor. I grew up in a place where neither was much celebrated: California had, arguably, too much Springtime and too brief a Winter to make celebration necessary and, although both my parents and 3-out-of-4 grandparents were union members, my lifetime has been one in which organized labor has moved from concentration on blue collar and private industry jobs to white collar and public employees, with all those years we weren't supposed to buy table grapes or iceberg lettuce so as to support Caesar Chavez's Farm Workers Union now just a childhood memory of another noble battle not-quite-won. So I've never learned to set up a Maypole, let alone dance around it, and composers have never unionized themselves in a lasting and useful way (not to mention my Groucho Marxist principles: not wanting to join an organization that would have me as a member), but I'll celebrate May Day all the same, and like every good day, by doing my work, whether at my desk composing or taking a break to go out-of-doors and make sure that the tomatillos and coriander and habaneros and the epazote have begun to sprout, and top it with an evening well-spent with the people I love most.

1 comment:

Archivist/Cultural Liaison said...

I can't remember how many times i saw Caesar Chavez speak, but that Santana would so often play for free was always a draw too. So we shouldn't underestimate the nature of Music is such affairs. [Ceasar had to hide in my neighbors fixed up shed for two weeks at one time when things got hot, made us forever appreciate having such extended structures on ones property]