We’ve let the fire go out for the last time, we hope. There will be no more need until the Fall (which around here can be anytime from mid-August to mid-October). The hay has been cut, dried, baled and taken to the barn. A second cutting, if there is one this year, won’t be until late August or even late September. Daisies, Queen Anne’s Lace and Morning Glories are lining the roadsides and trails. Just the other night the fireflies announced their presence, even though we can still expect overnight temperatures to drop into the 40s on occasion. A down-jacket-cold July 4th is always a possibility.
This is the time of year when we catch up, remove Winter’s traces, substitute weeding for wood cutting. Tadpoles in the ponds are already leaving the water, lizards and snakes are helping control insects and rodents. Birds and bees and toads and turtles are everywhere, and frogs let us know they are here, too. All create a symphony, an ode to the season that we hear most clearly at night.
In the garden the promise of fresh food is already above ground, along with blossoms and dark green leaves. It is a time to work slowly, feeling the sun on your back, but enjoying (at least this early in the summer) the warmth. In winter it is felt only when close to the fire or when the sun streams in through the south-facing windows. Now we again appreciate the deep overhang of the roof that keeps the sun out as it rises higher, and we adjust the blinds of the skylights to hold off the heat a bit.
Before summer really settles in we enjoy the breezy, warm days and cool nights. Too soon we will seek ways to avoid the heat, move out of the sun, put off chores until evening, but for now the introduction to summer is very welcome. There are jobs we do later because we know we will have longer days in the weeks ahead; days when time seems to move slowly because we do. And then it will be over. Another season behind us, we will pick up saws and axes, check out the log splitter, clean up the woodshed and prepare for the cold to come. Life is a series of cycles that take us from year to year. We like to say we have four seasons here: mud, snow, fly and dust, and that sometimes we have them all on the same day. The truth is, of course, that we have a full year of changes from winter to spring to summer to fall. If we have any real treasure here, is the natural cycle of change.
We could not live without it.