Happy Beltane, friends!

Tiny blue ceramic door resting against the trunk of a maple tree.

In the fall, I bought a faery door that now rests against the giant maple tree in my yard. The girls next door saw it and asked me about it:

7yo: What’s that?
Me: It’s a faery door
7yo: Did you make it?
Me: No (which is technically correct).
[she looks at me suspiciously]
Me: But I did put it there so that fairies could live in the tree.

I know they’re skeptical, but 7yo and her older sister and younger brother put a LOT of miles on every day running around their (and my) yard, and they’ve looked at it every day, just to be sure. Because you never know, right?

Today is the eve of Beltane (Mayday), which maybe doesn’t mean much in my heritage, but in right-proper Gaelic (and Wiccan and pagan) tradition, Beltane was the day when people gathered in an agricultural community came together to hold rituals and celebrations to protect the food supply from harm. Some of that was about courting favour from the Fey, who could wreck havoc on your farm and livestock if they were displeased (or bored, or feeling particularly mischievous that day). Maybe you believe in elementals, and maybe the line for you is Disney or Tolkien. But I’m looking at the Vesey’s box full of bulbs and corms and eyeing the garden center flyers, and consulting the Farmer’s Almanac, and drawing art-free renderings of my garden beds as they exist (or as I want them to look in a few months)… and I’m thinking that Beltane is a step out of spring and into the “season” of summer. And maybe a Beltane fire in the fire pit, and a thimbleful of milk beside the faery door is a novel insurance policy – the faerykind in the tree are happy and I can watch fireflies for a month and my transplants will find it supercomfy in their new homes and there won’t be worms in my Brussels sprouts? Done and done.

I grow at least some of the food my family consumes. My fig trees hardly have any foliage, but there are already figs growing. My chives are close to a foot tall and starting to flower. And all my bulbs and tubers have started pushing forward the flower heads that will eventually provide food for the bees in my neighbourhood. I’m excited to be responsible for at least part of the food that sustains my family. And I’m also a staunch supporter of local farms and markets in my area. Mike was a hunter for years when we lived in the Valley. So I’m thankful for every pollinator that shows up to my garden, every bat that eats the mosquitos, and for the guy who delivers my organic vegetable basket every week.

So, on this Beltane, let’s take time to bless the crops and livestock, and be extra thankful to those who tend our food supply. And maybe read a little Stardust (or watch it, because DeNiro’s Captain Shakespeare is *chef’s kiss*).

Extra Credit:

A Detailed History of Beltane

5 ways to celebrate Beltane

The ‘fairy door’ phenomenon

Fairy Door: If You Build It, Fairies Will Come

Daily What?! Miniature fairy doors are popping up all over NYC

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