In the middle of a June day, as I hang one of Elizabeth’s dresses to dry in the sun, I hear the sound of the cicada reassuring me it’s summer. It’s a distinct sound that I cannot express with a word but it’s familiar, I have heard it each year of my life – the sound of a hot summer afternoon, somewhat of a symphony of summer, comforting. As the day fades and the western sky blushes with color from the sunset, I go again to the clothesline and the symphony has become somewhat of a lullaby, something more settling; the evening creatures are beginning their nocturnal concerto, the low sound of frogs in the ditches, the swish from the chimney swifts gliding through the early evening sky as they gather their supper, the sudden, slight stir in the woods, the little fluttering sound of the June bugs as they collect at the porch light, and the lull of the lawnmowers giving way to the small and distant voices of children playing; a summer night is approaching. It is all a blank canvas for us, a place to create; I choose to fill my summer canvas with warm and simple memories. I know there will be big moments in this summer of 2012, but I also know I will hold most dear those “little” moments.
There are the sights of summer also. For me, by definition, there must be fire flies at night (or as we called them, lightning bugs) and dragon flies by day (or as we called them, mosquito hawks), clothes on the line and straw hats and slow conversations at the farmers market. Oh, and my kitchen counter must become a surface laden with fresh vegetables from both the farmers market and my garden mingled with melons from, ideally, a roadside farm truck – yum. I also must have a vase filled with fresh water near my sink to hold cut flowers from my yard - the gardenias of May, the magnolias in early June, and the zinnias throughout those really hot days. June needs these things like October needs a pumpkin – metaphors continually reminding me of nature’s bounty and beauty, filling my kitchen and my spirit with the color and fragrance of June.
I say all of this, this effort to paint this picture of summer with words, so that you might embrace this season just a bit more , grasp the splendor of summer a bit tighter and feel the delight of these moments when the earth is bountiful, the days are longer, and, hopefully, the living is more relaxed. For all too soon, the Full Sturgeon Moon of late August will be here and with it, the days will be shortened, the cicadas will go back to their underground homes, school will have started, and the rush of the new season will begin; this fleeting summer day will only be a memory; I hope we all make one worthy of being recollected.
“Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow