It's an exciting and also kind of bittersweet month for me.
The weather here in north Texas can't decide whether to make our Mays hotter'n Hell, mild as a well-mannered maiden, or tempestuous.
This May's been kind of stormy.
The frogs behind the back fence in the creek are screaming out their mating calls with such ardour, you can't hear yourself think at night. Three of 'em were engaged the other night on my front porch in some activity that variously looked like good clean amphibian fun, a sin in God's eyes, and a good way to get stomped on of an accident by any unsuspecting big-footed cop who was backing out the door in a hurry to get to work. Actually, they were toads. The big one, I knew, was the female. The one clamped to her back, I knew, was a male. The one clamped to his back, I guess, was just experimenting with something new. I hope he was invited, or at least bought them dinner.
The air's kind of heavy, what with the constant rain. It makes for a good deal of mud, and mosquitoes. It also makes one's breath draw with a little more effort. This is conducive to the bit of apprehension that I regularly feel in May.
May is when the school year ends. It's when I find that I've not quite amounted to what I thought I should have. It's when I realize that I'm not going to obtain the exact goal that I saw in February or March, when the weather started to turn spring-like. It's the very beginning the long hot death march that will end up being our summer, ending in September, or maybe early October.
As the last of the cold air is being pushed out by the strong warm moist air blowing up from the Gulf, we get thunderstorms here in May, the likes of which many parts of the world never sees. Thunderheads rise 50 thousand feet or more above this, the edge of the plains, driving tons and tons of water through updrafts in cycles that can and do create hailstones even bigger than the golf-ball sized ones that destroyed my roof a couple of weeks ago. These storms then blow away or even suck up projections and edifices off of this plain in thin, powerful spinning clouds that dip from the sky. Cyclones scour this region about every couple of weeks around here in May, making the weather men into superstars who break into whatever you're watching, to urge you to take cover now if you're in their predicted path of destruction. (All in the name of saving lives, not ratings. Strangely, they go to bed and don't interrupt the infomercials and other crap that plays in the middle of the night.) Flash floods fill the streets, flood houses, and occasionally drown people that should have known better than to drive through low water crossings. Lightning burns down houses, churches, and trees that were old when my dad was a boy.
May is when I moved home from U.T., having made an interesting study my freshman year of Austin, but not much else, about 16 years ago. May is when I remember the untimely passing of my best friend's sister Tina (the only sister I'd ever had), for whom the month held joy.
I remember, when I was a boy, when May was a time of dewy grass, flowers that I picked for my mother, MayFest in Fort Worth, Mother's Day breakfasts, and maybe a picnic or two. We'd combine the holiday with my Dad's birthday, and make a weekend. When you're a boy, that means seeing the family, and cake, and maybe some barbecue. No worries about obligations. Those came later.
Today, I turned in a late lab assignment, and sold the only book they'd take at the student bookstore (I got $10 for a paperback book that I had bought for $70, and they wouldn't take the others). My spring graduate semester is over, and my summer is now started.
I drove home in the newest thunderstorm.