Note: This was written over a decade ago.
Mandevilla Magic in May—
“There’s a lil’ sunshine in there!” –ctl, age 4 (My son’s quote when he was 4; he’s 21 years old now.)
It’s May. Ah, yes, it sounds magical, doesn’t it? You’d better believe it does to this teacher’s ears. It is definitely an exciting month in which our senses are stirred as we all experience another round in seasonal change for very soon it will be summertime. It is now that all the hard work shared in lesson after lesson within the academic year begins to shine with student/teacher success. Maturity is evident—comparisons in students’ growth rates from August to the end of the year are visibly delightful. This month beams in beauty as flowers of all kinds and colors burst forth in full bloom and as gardens begin to push plants’ promises of fresh, luscious vegetables for later on in the growing season. May is a month of promise.
Fresh scents from flowers and gardens waft through May’s warm air. One favorite treat in this month is that first mouth-watering bite of the first delicious, plump, ripened strawberry of the season. Yum, I can almost taste it now. May, too, is a time that I truly become domestic for it is now that I make batches of strawberry jam just like Momma does. That tradition is so much fun as I recall days gone by spent with Momma when I was a little girl. I watched her for so many seasons; it was easy to step into the role as jam-maker in my own kitchen. I remember how she had her ingredients and tools, including Ball jars & lids, pre-measured sugar, and boxes of Sure-Jell, set up for the jam-making sessions. How May’s strawberry aromas filtered through every room in our house! You can imagine how those strawberry scents filter through rooms in my house in mid-May. Mm-mm-mm-mm, delicious!
During May, we get to have happy feet for the ol’ socks and closed-in-toe shoes are now put away, and our wiggly toes enjoy outdoor experiences. Hooray for warm weather days, great times for wearing sandals and flip-flops again. If you’re brave, go ahead and walk barefoot like you did when you were a child. Your feet will love the feel of soft, sun-kissed grass and sun-warmed concrete.
At my mailbox in May, there is a special plant adorning the wooden post; it’s one that I call a magical plant. It’s a pink Mandevilla. Years ago when my son was four years old I learned about the magic in this plant, deep within the flower, actually. Recently, while thumbing through some old writings, I found this poem which tagged the memory.
She twists and turns,
swirling her leafy green skirt
around an old wooden post.
she extends outward,
freely exposing light
pink blooms against
bold emerald foliage.
To nurture her,
I bring gentle rain showers
from my watering can.
Sparkling water droplets
cascade over petals and leaves
to quench this vine’s thirst.
My little one tiptoes near me,
determinedly pulls the end
of my free-flowing shirt his way.
His four-year-old fingers frame
one beautiful bloom-
He gasps while moving in closer,
“Momma, come here! Look!”
Is it a ladybug, a line of ants, a busy bee?
What could this little boy possibly see?
“Look, Mom! Do you see it?
There’s a little sunshine in there.”
“Yes, I do, my son.
It’s a wonderful one.”
From a child’s view, I am aware.
Look once. Look twice—
A little sunshine could be there.
I hope the month of May will be exciting for us. Let’s enjoy warmer weather, also garden-fresh plants and veggies. Let’s delight in all that our beautiful world offers in this lovely season. The next time you’re looking for plants, try to find the Mandevilla; pink is quite special with that bright yellow center. Cup one of the blossoms in your hands and look closely inside the bloom. You’ll see it—there’s a lil’ sunshine in there. Enjoy the magic!