Some of the most powerful memories of summer come out of our childhood
when we wake up on a June morning and suddenly remember that school is out
and that summer stretches in front of us as endlessly as the infinities of space.
Everything is different.
The old routines are gone.
The relentless school bus isn’t coming.
The bells will be silent in silent hallways.
And all the world is leafy green, and will be green, forever and ever. ~Ray Bradbury
Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill. ~ Harper Lee in Too Kill a Mockingbird
Time lurches ahead in imprecisely measured chunks. Sometimes the beginning and ending of seasons are the yardstick, or celebrating a holiday or a birthday. Memories tend to be stickiest surrounding a milestone event: a graduation, a move, a wedding, a birth, a road trip, a funeral.
But Summer needs nothing so remarkable to be memorable. It simply stands on its own in all its extravagant abundance of light and warmth and growth and color stretching deep within the rising and setting horizons. Each long day can feel like it must last forever, never ending, yet it does eventually wind down, spin itself out, darkening gradually into shadow. We let go with reluctance; we feel as if no summer like it will ever come again.
Yet another will, somehow, somewhere, someday. Surely a never-ending summer is what heaven itself will be.
Perfectly delightful and delightfully perfect. We’ve already had a taste.
Every spring I hear the thrush singing in the glowing woods he is only passing through. His voice is deep, then he lifts it until it seems to fall from the sky. I am thrilled. I am grateful. Then, by the end of morning, he’s gone, nothing but silence out of the tree where he rested for a night. And this I find acceptable. Not enough is a poor life. But too much is, well, too much. Imagine Verdi or Mahler every day, all day. It would exhaust anyone. ~Mary Oliver from “A Thousand Mornings”
What does it say about me that in the darkness of December mornings, I yearn for the early sunrises of June but once I’m firmly into the June calendar, it no longer is so compelling? It confirms my suspicion that I’m incapable of reveling in the moment at hand, something that would likely take years of therapy to undo. I’m sure there is some deep seated issue here, but I’m too sleep deprived to pursue it.
My eyes popped open this morning at 4:17 AM, spurred by vigorous birdsong in the trees surrounding our farm house. There was daylight sneaking through the venetian blinds at that unseemly hour as well. Once the bird chorus starts, with one lone chirpy voice in the apple tree by our bedroom window, it rapidly becomes a full frontal onslaught symphony orchestra from the plum, cherry, poplar, walnut, fir and chestnut. Sleep is irretrievable.
I remember wishing for early morning birdsong last December when it seemed the sun would never rise and the oppressive silence would never lift. I had conveniently forgotten those mornings a few years ago when we had a flock of over a dozen young roosters who magically found their crows very early in the morning a mere 10 weeks after hatching. Nothing before or since could match their alarm clock expertise after 4 AM. No barbecue before or since has tasted as sweet.
So I remind myself how bad it can really be and backyard birdsong is a veritable symphony in comparison.
Some of the most powerful memories of summer come out of our childhood when we wake up on a June morning and suddenly remember that school is out and that summer stretches in front of us as endlessly as the infinities of space. Everything is different. The old routines are gone. The relentless school bus isn’t coming. The bells will be silent in silent hallways. And all the world is leafy green, and will be green, forever and ever. ~Ray Bradbury
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom. ~Li-Young Lee from “From Blossoms”
These are impossible June evenings of color and warm breezes.
A sense of immortality extends across the sky as far as the eye can see.
Impossible — because I know they won’t last; this precious time is ephemeral.
Yet I may revel in it, moving from joy to joy to joy, from buttercup to buttercup,
lifted up and set down gently,
oh so gently,
to rest in the sweetness of line-dried sheets
that promise summer someday will last forever.