May snow is never welcome, even by me. And I love snow.
There comes a time when you need to move on and put away the mittens! Here in Atlantic Canada, we don’t often get through the month without some white. Other than complain about it, there’s not much we can do.
Grandma seemed to be able to make the best of even the worst weather. She anxiously awaited a May snowfall, especially if there was enough to cover the ground. Out she went. Grandma would collect the snow in a jar and let it melt. She believed the May snow was medicinal. I’ve witnessed Grandma swab the May water on a stye on the eye to make it feel better; I don’t recall if it successfully removed the stye. Grandma also believed the May water would remove freckles. My younger brother, Ronnie, hated his freckles and tried to wash them away. He is still quite freckled! Personally, I love freckles and would never do anything to remove them.
I don’t have any proof that the May snow turned “May water” has any medicinal properties, but I now believe Grandma was the very best at turning an unpleasant situation – like snow in May – into a fun time!
William Shakespeare, like the rest of us, was not keen on “May snow.” In Love’s Labour Lost, he wrote:
“At Christmas, I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows. (1.1.105)”
May snow – not good for the soul, but good for the eyes? Grandma Says!
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.