“Refreshing little gems.”—Kirkus Reviews
“May Days offers us the perennial pleasures of the familiar essay: an amiable persona, verbal polish and aplomb, a mixture of anecdote and curious lore, engaging meditations on affairs both indoors and out, plus ample wit.”—Scott Sanders
“An accomplished essayist. . . . Evokes the free-wheeling meditative spirit of the essay.”—Sewanee Review
“One of the finest essayists and humorists in America. . . . He writes simply and appealingly for the whole person. . . . By seeing life in its wonder, mystery, harshness and grandeur, he leads us to think about it more calmly and responsibly.”—Nashville Tennessean
In this collection of eleven wry essays, Samuel Pickering illuminates the ordinary, making what is common in life stand out with gemlike brilliance. An amateur naturalist and devoted father, Pickering offers his reflections on family lore, curious artifacts, the endearing absurdities of everyday life, and his attempts to understand and appreciate the rich world of nature.
With a self-ironic, unpretentious voice, Pickering takes us to the bucolic settings of rural Nova Scotia and small-town Tennessee, as well as a New England academic environment. There we witness his balancing act between suburban and rural life, between the pressures of the workaday world and the temptation of nature, the call to explore what is so often ignored, the need to remember the roots of our past.
Whether writing about Miss Kitty and Miss Jo Sewall, E. W. Childers and the fish he caught in Difficult Creek, or the naming and renaming of flowers—Purple Orchis, Skullcap, Riverwater Pink—Pickering reveals an inquiring, gentle regard for nature and humanity. His anecdotes present the history and folklore of his own family as well as Everyman's history and lore as he uncovers some of the subtle truths that lie unnoticed in the common events and realities of life.