In the dark and drear of January, it’s summer days like this we dream of…..
Chalice Pond is a serene mirror of the woods here at Lightspring Glen, a gentle breeze is adding just the coolness needed for the day’s low-80s, (with the humidity blessedly comfortable so far ) fair-weather cumulus clouds are sailing their impossibly huge white galleons across the sky’s brilliant blue depths. Given the news of terrible heat in the West of the continent, here in the Northeast we have been enjoying a most clement Summer with the (mostly) moderate complaint of too many rainy days. And in truth there’s been enough rainfall to cause some flooding problems, especially around the Great Lakes. But since we passed the Fourth, warm, beautiful, abundant Summer has arrived in its fullness so that now making sure to bring along the sunblock is at last a necessity.
Our damp May and June’s silver lining has been what so many comment on when talk of the weather comes up smiling as we say, “…but haven’t the flowers been so lush this year?!” And oh my, how true this is, both wild and garden-flowers lingering long beyond their usual date. The apple trees were thick with blossom and fragrance promising an excellent harvest Already on my morning walk the wild trees are showing branches increasingly heavy with new green apples. The deer and I are going to enjoy this mouth-watering abundance come Autumn.
I am delighted that the birds are still singing so late in the season, no doubt due to how the cool, rainy Spring delayed nesting. Both mornings and evenings, but especially the mornings, I am still thrilled by so many voices: robins, cat birds, the wood and Hermit thrushes, the oven bird, and a variety of warblers. The cardinal’s young have just fledged in the past week and the three brightly-feathered juveniles are trailing their parents about the shrubs, already strong flyers. And the chickadee family is making the rounds of the yard too, the young ones talking amongst themselves with their adolescent, slightly buzzy-voices, chick-a-dee-dee-dee. When they at last grow silent which will be soon (and as they must in the order of things), it will be the song sparrow I will probably miss the most. Father-sparrow has been offering his song so exuberantly here in the yard starting early in May. This year, more than others, with the birds still singing….at this very moment a wood thrush offering its exquisite flute tones from the woods…I am of the mind that at least some of the time they sing for the sheer joy of it.
And then there’s the stream and waterfall here in Lightspring Glen, their voices usually a low murmur in Summer’s dryer weeks. So a last blessing to note making for this season’s generous abbondanza is the still-sounding silvery and merry water music offering its magick to all of us fortunate to frequent this special corner of the world.
But beyond my own praise song, it’s Mary Oliver poem, “A Summer’s Day” that to me strikes exactly the right note….so this, and then following her beautiful last line with its provocative question, a photo of the stream.
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?