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Today is the first of May. A familiar time for someone who grew up in New York disliking winter with its 10-foot piles of snow, the dirty frozen kind you fall on as you’re walking to school and cut your knees on. Come spring, save us from stiff fingers and toes while we’re locked out of the house and snow angels are for people who can breathe and laugh and run in this dry scene, not the rest of us gasping for air.

Welcome, May, a doorway to peace, winter not so far behind, a time for skin to relax and receive heat without fear. I grew up in echoey castles devoted to candles and hymns and discipline. I wanted so much to taste the beef broth that was simmering in the halls when we walked from here to there. In May we went outside and crowned a plaster statue with living flowers and prayed to her, that was somehow supposed to relieve me of the passion and suffering, the bleeding torture and death of the christ we experienced year after year?

My kindest memory of May was a prayer when someone said Mary was the Star of the Sea. I do not know why this went down into me and kept me and held me. Mostly I felt strange to honor a plaster thing in white and blue robes or nearly naked on a bloody cross. All my young being asked what exactly am I doing here and why does this feel so strange honoring a thing with things when what we are feeling is incomprehensible?

Today I recall hearing the prayer that mentions Mary Star of the Sea. I appreciate and approve that devotion though I have never been. The sea is incomprehensible, a dangerous mystery to me, and perhaps I will never comprehend. I feel closer to the mystery outside of me because moonlight and sunrise. The End.