Friday, May 3, 2013
still-sound 164. Muguet
I had heard that in France there's a tradition of offering lily of the valley to the people you love on the first of May. I could picture it in my head. An old woman would have a little table set up on the side of a road with a handwritten wooden sign saying Muguet. She would sell little bouquets to men holding baguettes and women wearing white dresses, enjoying the first warmth of spring.
I was lucky enough to be in France on the first of May this year. I saw no evidence of muguetmania in the preceding days. In fact there seemed to be very little fuss over the holiday at all. I only spotted one photocopied sign stapled to a telephone pole advertising a Fete de Musique by the canal where 80s music would be played. On April 29 I walked into a supermarket next to a hardware store called Monsieur Bricolage and found rows of lily of the valley for sale. Glimmering in cellophane sleeves. I bought a little bundle for 2 Euros 50.
I displayed the flowers on the mantelpiece and took regular breaks from the drywalling and plastering tasks that were otherwise occupying me, to smell them. The neighbors across the street were enjoying their own Fete de Musique, featuring throbbing euro techno.