Everyone down by the stream runs for the flowering meadow where the old Maypole stood. My group and I hurry along as well, hoping to be picked for the dance. Codi and I are both good crowd weavers so we take to the front of our group and lead them through the growing crowds.
A small crowd of people were already circling around the pole that had brightly colored ribbons tied to it. A small crown of flowers hung at the top of the slender wooden pole, holding the ribbons in place. Out of breath, we take our places near the front, in hopes of getting picked for this year’s dance. A few had already been selected and were standing with ribbons in their hands, the girls faced clockwise and the boys counter clockwise. The ribbons float lazily in the passing breezes, their colorful tails streaking across the sky. All of us pray to the Mother Goddess that we will be picked for this fun dance. As each person was picked our nerves escalated, counting down how many spots were left. The Maypole Ceremony Master, in his long green tunic, strolls past us several times, and every time we hold our breaths ,hoping he will pull at least one of us into the dance.
With one spot to fill and the Ceremony Master heading our way, we all huddle together holding hands praying that one of us will fill that spot. He stops in front of us, reaches out his hand and grabs hold of my arm. It takes a few seconds for me to realize that I have been chosen for the maypole dance. I stumble up to the last floating ribbon, a bright and shiny pink, and take my place facing the boy who had joined me in the forest last night. Our eyes meet and I look away my face burning; I silently curse the Mother Goddess and know she was smiling down on me with enjoyment of my situation. Out of the corner of my eye I see the boy smile, never once turning from face.
I could see that his hair was wet, he must have just come from the dew washing like I did, tight dark curls already starting to form. He wore a loose white tunic, belted at the waist that clung to his skin from the water. He, like most everyone else, was barefoot splattered with mud and bits of grass. I dare another look and stare right into his beautiful green eyes, suddenly getting trapped in their emerald maze.
A light and playful drum beat on the edge of the crowd that has circled around the maypole snaps me out of my trance. My legs bob in time with the drum and a violin and flute join in, playing a melody that was easy to skip to. The boy flashes me a quick smile before we start to weave under and over the other ribbons and it distracted me so much that I nearly ran into the guy who was behind him.
It didn’t take long for me to get into the rhythm of the dance, skipping while guiding my ribbon over and under the other dancers. A smile breaks onto my face and I begin to laugh with glee. I have missed being in the maypole dance. Many times I pass the emerald eyed boy and smile at him, no longer afraid or embarrassed to look at his face. I could have done the dance all day, but the ribbons only have a certain length they can go.
The ribbons have woven a pattern on the pole and now the village crone studies it to determine what kind of harvest we will have this year. It’s expected to be a great year and a cheer echoes across the flowered meadow. The music starts up again and we dance our praises to the Mother Goddess and Horned God for everything. Blaire, Codi, and the others eventually find me, but the emerald eyed boy is nowhere to be seen.
This most certainly has been the best Beltane ever.