There she is in the 1993 Beltane photos, back when I barely knew her. It was the Beltane of 1993 and I had been earnestly working on developing some kind of Neopagan community in our area since the late 1980’s. A small group of us had already begun a tradition of annual Beltane picnics, doing our best to drag whatever local paganfolk we could find, out into the open long enough for them to share and socialize and get a sense of themselves as being part of an actual community. By 1989 I had been self publishing a community newsletter and by September 1992 had officially established Sassafras Grove ADF as Pittsburgh’s branch of Ár nDraíocht Féin, the International Neopagan Druidic organization started by Isaac Bonewits in the 1980’s.
Diana had been to the Beltane picnic and a couple subsequent Sassafras/ADF rites but it wasn't until Valentines Day that we had our first official date. We still consider that our anniversary. We were cohabiting by the mid-late 90's and we bought our house together in September of 2002.
Every year Beltane seems like an anniversary to us as well. Di and I both look back fondly on those early Beltanes and that beautiful grove in the woods where for so many years we brought in the May with love, passion and hard work.
This year? Not so romantic. Perhaps some of you know that I've been ill, and great leaping Morris-Men, I've just had to spend Beltane in hospital (where I am writing this now). I had been diagnosed and first treated for CLL (a common form of Leukemia) in 2012. The first chemo treatments at the end of 2012 worked very well and I only had my first relapse now this February of 2015.
I cannot begin to adequately describe how wonderful Diana has been throughout this journey, how constant, hard working and dedicated a companion and caregiver she has been. I am so incredibly lucky to have her. I hope for all of you that when the time comes that you end up having someone to fulfill these roles for you anywhere as well as I have been blessed by having Diana in my life.
SO, there I was Friday, sitting-out a perfect Mayday "in the dugout" (I could do worse; the view from my hospital window actually is spectacular; what a beautiful day!) and, in she comes, and my heart skips a beat; I'm so glad to see her and, well, to me she looks just so "wonderful". I'm 61 now (Di's's 4 years younger) and one's aesthetic assessment of things does change in this period of life but honestly, regardless, to me she's one of those women who actually does get better with age... simply "wonderfuller and wonderfuller".
Bright BELTANE BLESSINGS to all !
- EARRACH of Pittsburgh