and so it goes / by laurel

The month of May is a spectral ghost that haunts even the most steadfastly even-tempered souls. In May, the clouds hang low in the sky, depressed and hidden under the covers, refusing to get out of bed until well past lunch. The sun manages a pale smile, but ultimately her energies are spent in preservation, gearing up for the "busy season." As I swam through an impenetrable shroud of opaque marine layer this morning, I felt the burden of May shifting, moaning, breathing down my neck.

It's a month of change, the kind of change that carries with it the nagging, spooked feeling that will stop you dead in your tracks at 2:30 on a thursday afternoon. It's that haunting premonition that what lurks under the placid cloud-cover is an uncertain future. It's weird. It's just plain weird.

May signals the end of an era. Relationships blossoming in the flippant, careless months of January and February are suddenly brought to the tipping point. Decisions are made, forced, and articulated before their time. May connotes a certain lightheartedness, a time of new beginnings, a season where things grow and flourish. But we know better. And May knows better than anyone else that she is the fallback month, the rebound month, the month buckling under the strain of a thousand things ending, a thousand things beginning, and a thousand things caught in the turmoil of change.

May is in a state of flux, an ebb and flow of ideas. May is caught in the tempest of discontented thoughts. The sounding board for every "What will happen if everything changes?" and "Will it ever be the same?"

It won't ever be the same.

Maddening as it may be, the month is martyred and strung out to connect the dreariness of spring with the unending heat of summer. She has the vexing task of living up to the hype while secretly knowing, deep down, that she is the month where friends fall out of touch, lovers fall out of love, and the chips fall where they may.

It's no coincidence that the Beatles released Let It Be in May. The flat, colorless days of June are a blank canvas onto which dozens of plans conspire. The lazy, slow July burn winks at passersby. August--desperate, desperate August--dares the sun to expend its last rays, dares children to suck the marrow out of every last day, dares shoppers to stock up on school supplies a month early. June, July and August stand united, fingers tangled, chanting "Red rover, red rover..."

But May is the loner month. The token awkward kid standing in the back of the room. May would likely be as uncomfortable residing between February and March as she is crammed between April Showers and June Gloom. And so we wind our fingers into fists and clench our eyes shut and wait for the awkwardness to pass, for the weirdness to subside, for May to finally unfurl her pent up melancholy into the open arms of June.

In the meantime, the roiling melody and tinkling keys sprinkled over Damien Rice's "Unplayed Piano (Chris Lord-Alge Mix)" will surely wade through a dozen whitewashed May days. Paired with Lisa Hannigan's angelically morose vocals, Rice weaves a tapestry of plaintive queries, as he laments, "Maybe it's not the season, Maybe there's no good reason..."

Can anything good come from the month of May?

Maybe so.