Monday, June 02, 2008
Ode To June
June is the king of all months. Now, I'm not qualified to offer an opinion on the king of all months in Calgary, or Phoenix, or Oklahoma, or the Seychelles, but I know June in New England as well as anyone, and let me tell you, it's sweet.
June is the monthly dessert after eight months of eating your calendar vegetables. June is the coins rattling in the tray after you pulled the lever of life for all those bleak, grey days of early spring without effect. June is the ball crossing the stripe and swishing into the twine at soccer. If you're the forward, I mean. If you're the goalie, the other eleven months are the ball crossing the line, and you, defeated, looking up from the mud as it sails past. June is the save.
And that magnificent long gentle slide from the longest day of the year (that's in June, of course) to Columbus Day is the payoff for having to scrape your windshield frost with an expired credit card, without gloves, in February.
June is the first month you look at the fireplace and try to recall the last time you really needed it to take the chill from your bones that winter had pounded into them. You close the fireplace flue, in a ceremony like the immurement of a Pharoah in his pointy stone temple, to slumber for the ages that pass on the calendar until you resurrect it in October.
The hummingbirds peer in your window, wondering when the delicate bell shaped flowers you put out for them each year might be ready, but too polite to knock. The finches sing outside the window, replacing the sound of the scraping of the snowplow on a distant road just before daybreak. The finch is preferable, I think.
That houseplant that you ministered to like a hemophiliac prince all winter, and looked each day like it would collapse in a pile of dust and corruption if you forgot to water it hourly, goes out on the porch in June, and untended, grows like a two year old child does, washed only by the warm gentle showers of June rain.
And in the evening, which seems to go on for days, the gloaming lowers itself gently on your head like a crown; the bats begin their endless circles overhead, their leathery wings beating time to nature's tune, whispering in your ear as you walk the yard between the luminous Hostas and ferns -- all the while illuminated only by the rich dregs of sunshine left in the June day's cup, and the fireflies.
And the ocean in June, dear reader, the ocean. Nature erases the line between earth and sky, and you feel as though you could sail right up the wall of the heavens if you could just get to the horizon, to trail your fingers through the firmament. The clouds float by one by one, like lone teenagers at a mall, unable to coalesce into a gang, and so, without the others to goad them on, they smile and look almost cheery- and a little silly if they try to puff themselves up into something threatening.
And when the thunderstorms come in late June, to settle the dispute between the earth and the sky, with the ocean third man in, the great anvil headed clouds rise up to the earth's ceiling and break open like a pinata, bringing the great gift of a cleansing summer rain to cool the air and pop the humidity like a bubble in the bath. And then it's over, and the air is filled with bracing ionized air, as if you lived under a waterfall; and you walk shoeless in the grass outside the door and watch the birds gather themselves for another take at their improvised opera. And if the storm tales a pole, and the electricity with it, no matter, for the sun shines until you're done with it, and you wink off to sleep with it winking back at you on the horizon.
I like June.