By Bruce Stambaugh
Summertime. Isn’t that an absolutely gorgeous word? Let it roll off of our tongues and past our moist lips slowly, magnificently, joyfully.
Those of us who reside east of the Mississippi River and north of Disney World endured a long, hard, cold, snowy, record-setting winter. It’s truly a blessing to say that lovely word, summertime.
It’s not like we’ve earned summer either. We just have longed for the expected warmer, more pleasant weather, plus its immeasurable benefits.
Though the summer solstice doesn’t officially arrive until June 21, that’s become insignificant, even obsolete. Here in commercialized America, we’re accustomed to the definition of summer as the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
I know I am not the only one that is thankful that June is here. With apologies to Walt Whitman, I can indeed see and hear America singing. All I have to do is be attentive.
The early summer flowers, the irises, poppies, and petunias are or soon will be blooming. So are the weeds.
The days are not only longer when measured in daylight hours; they are warmer and more humid, too. That is the norm.
Of course as part of America has already experienced, we’ll likely have our share of hazardous weather. That, too, is within the season’s nomenclature.
The first cutting of hay, whether by horse and sickle or tractor and big round baler, has commenced. School years have ended, except for educational institutions that offer additional classes. They are appropriately called summer school.
We humanoids aren’t the only one’s happy about the transformation. The birds and the bees have gotten a head start on articulating their predestined survival behaviors. Shorebirds, songbirds, and yard birds will fledge their young, and begin a second brood if there is time.
Soon lightning bugs will be rising from fields and grasses, blinking under spacious, starry skies. It’s a scene of which I hope I never tire. If the grandkids visit, we’ll fill jars and watch the incredible insects glow, and then release them to do their thing, the bugs not the grandkids, that is.
Boats big and small will cut temporary wounds into placid waters, which will heal themselves with no thought whatsoever by either the offender or the offended. The squeals of a toddler’s first catch of the year or the rich laughter of children diving into tepid water at dusk will confirm summer’s presence.
Produce stands have already begun to present seasonal rewards. Patient diligence will yield even juicier, tasty results. I gladly anticipate fresh buttered beets, succulent heirloom tomatoes and savory, sweet mint tea, leaves right from the garden.
Long-delayed chores can finally be completed. Weathered house siding will be revived with fresh coats of brightness to complement immaculate gardens full of rainbows of color and busy insects and critters.
I’ll sit on my back porch on a luxurious summer’s Sunday evening and listen to the clip-clopping of the horses as they carry home families early and courting teens late. I can hear the latter coming from a half-mile away, boom boxes blaring.
Vacations will bring thousands of tourists to Ohio’s Amish country, where I live, to witness some of those native interactions. Wise locals will flee to beaches or mountains or solitude.
As I write, a framed placard on the wall of the summer home of a friend succinctly summed it up. “Miracles are as close as the heavens above and the blossoms beneath.”
Amen to that and a hardy welcome to all that summer has to offer.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015