Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day - Walla Walla Spring Release Around The Corner

Ahhh...the first of May! There is something about May Day that makes me nostalgic. It makes me think of:

When I was a little girl we would make May baskets out of construction paper. Often in the shape of cones with a ribbon hanging from the top. We would fill our "pocket full of posies" and hang them on the door knob, ring the bell and run before our mother answered the door. Then we would walk in the back door nonchalantly as if we knew nothing. Mom of course, never let on.

On the playground we had a Maypole draped with flowers and ribbons of pastel colors. Holding the ribbons, we had rehearsed a dance so that the ribbons wound round the pole in a weave. The legend was that the better the pattern, the better the harvest would be that coming fall. I now raise an eyebrow with a snicker at this memory and wonder if those prim and proper hair-bun-sensible-shoe-wearing teachers really knew the meaning behind this Beltane frivolity. The Maypole is probably the most well known, even to non-Pagans, as simply a phallic symbol to reflect the fertility of the season.

Every year I tell myself that this will be the year I will make my own May wine and wine from rose petals.

May wine, also known as Maiwein, is the name of a German aromatized wine and served in the spring, traditionally on the May Day holiday. The base of this wine is made with sweet woodruff, a fragrant creeping herb, that is steeped in white German-style wines such as Riesling. Often served in the Maibowle (May-bowl) and strawberries are floated in the bowl.

Many May moons ago I would make a yearly trek to the now defunct Zillah Oakes Winery and buy a case of their May wine that was released just once a year and of course always at the end of April. The off-dry wine was perfect for a May picnic with the aroma of the woodruff and a hint of strawberries. I would serve the May wine with chilled pinwheel shapes of boneless stuffed chicken breasts filled with spinach and pesto, croissants and chocolate covered strawberries.

Last night as I was admiring the new buds from my 10 rose bushes and I thought to myself, "Will this be the year I will finally make rose petal wine?" Then all of a sudden reality knocks on my ethereal memories - - Spring Release is this weekend! It will mean to me the wine loving masses all descending on Walla Walla. My ears will be left ringing from hundreds of voices kicked-up a few volumes, my cheeks will hurt from smiling with the happy customer and trying to make the unhappy customer smile. When I reach my quiet sanctuary Sunday evening it will mean that my legs and feet will be sore. By the time my head hits the pillow there will come a wave of satisfaction that my tired old body once again accomplished another Spring Release weekend in Walla Walla, while my mind will wonder, "Will this be the year I will finally make rose petal wine?"

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