Summery June


By James McGuire

Contributing columnist

Hooray! June is off and running. It’s practically summer!

Oh, I know, going by the calendar, this sixth month is still two-thirds spring. By our modern way of seasonal reckoning, summer doesn’t arrive and become official for another two-plus weeks, on the occasion of the passing solstice.

Sure, there will probably be mornings when you still might need a light jacket or sweater for comfort when heading outdoors—even entire days when long sleeves feel better than short. Moreover, we’ll likely have a couple of cloudy, dank days, or a drizzly evening or two, when a modest kindling fire in the woodstove to “take the chill off” feels nice.

But who are we kidding? Do calendars and brief weather vagaries matter? Most days June looks and feels like a summer month, pure and simple.

Fireflies have recently begun blinking their yellow taillights in my backyard—tiny bright flashes that gleam and twinkle like miniature stars.

As always, their annual reappearance and flickering magic rekindles a wave of childlike wonderment—and induces a brief, nostalgic revisiting of precious memories from long ago.

No, you can’t ask for further proof or doubt that summer is genuinely here, if there are lightning bugs winking in the dooryard!

Summer’s truth is everywhere self-evident—all you have to do is step outside and look around.

Something fundamental has indeed taken place—we’ve crossed a seasonal Rubicon. The world beyond our doorstep has subtly transformed. We’re suddenly in new territory.

Even those who aren’t particularly outdoor-minded easily recognize the difference. A notable change all our senses immediately register—one you can see, feel, hear, taste, and smell.

June’s arrival marked not only the beginning of a new month but in a practical sense, almost overnight, it wrought a fundamental transformation boasting a new look that’s inarguably the genuine season itself—unsanctioned, irrevocable summer.

Daytime weather is pleasantly warm, balmy, sometimes bordering on downright hot! Not sweltering—that’s more the province of July and August. But nevertheless, June feels truly summery.

The landscape, thanks to all the rampant growth of April and May, is now fully swathed in lush, verdant green which muffles and hides—limiting both sight and sound, drawing the world pleasantly close as it wraps the whole outdoors in a comfortable emerald quilt.

There’s an innocence in June’s dawns. A sweetness to June’s sunsets. June mists lie soft and still in stream valleys, and between meadow swales, as if time itself has just begun and creation is now finding its way confidently and deliberately throughout the countryside—though with no obligation of hastening towards tomorrow.

Birds still sing in June, only now their songs are less strident. Procreative urgency has been replaced with more leisurely melodic interpretation—from the cardinals in the rose thickets near the drive to the orioles in the big sycamore across the river from our cottage.

Too, the stream’s olive-jade water runs full and fecund, purling over riffle stones, filling the heady air with the not-unpleasant scent of mud and fish and aquatic weeds—odors an old outdoor pal once called “the familiar scents of a fisherman’s life.”

During the midday hours waxwings swoop for midges above the moving currents. Swallows take over after sundown, as the air cools and purple-blue shadows begin creeping across quiet pools. At dusk the bats come out, fluttering, diving, sifting the darkening skies.

Some evenings mayflies dance in the gathering twilight. Pale winged sprites, their ephemeral congregation rising and falling in choreographed cadence over the water.

One of the best ways to experience June’s abundance is to simply kick back, in a chaise or hammock, or find a comfortable sprawl on a meadow hillside, and allow the day to wash over you like a gentle rain. Listen to the whispering of breeze-shaken leaves. Count clouds. Watch a buzzard sail high across the vast blue sky.

Explore with your nose. Is that sweet fragrance wafting down the hill the breath of wild strawberries?

June gives hope and joy in equal measure while encouraging thoughtful leisure. Days are full and long—the longest light periods of the year—so time itself can be savored. You’re not being unduly lazy by enjoying an afternoon snooze under the maples—just aligning your soul with the harmonics of the season.

The sun is warm without being blazing hot. It makes good health sense to position your chair in the sunshine from time to time in order to get a daily dose of vitamin D.

June soothes, inviting tranquility while propagating a relaxed appreciation for the subtle nuances of life.

“June was made for happiness,” proclaimed poet Annette Wynne.

That’s absolutely true—happiness seems more easily attainable now than at any other time of the year. Almost as if our hearts were long ago programmed to grow lighter when the seasons turn and the sun nears it zenith.

Forever can be glimpsed on June’s horizon. A feeling that each new day is a blank page in time’s book, a sense that anything is possible, an awareness that life surrounds us on every quarter. Plus the certain knowledge that it is our choice whether we participate or observe.

June is indeed transformative, a positive change…because best of all, it transforms us.

Reach the writer at [email protected]

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