Season’s bounties a balm for trying times
For those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is la crème de la crème.
In the North, Mother Nature finally outwits the cold, bringing long-awaited blooms. The Mid-Atlantic basks in wisteria cascading down old walls; roses and lilacs put in an appearance.
In the South, it is the rainy season. Rivers wander; plants run rampant. It is as if some green giant has sloshed through field and forest, covering up the pale tans of winter’s grasses. Pinks (agalinis and pale meadow beauty) and golds (bachelor buttons, yellow-eyed grass and tickseed) replace the early birds — blue-eyed grass, and blue flag iris. Passionflower is fading. Beautiful tarflower is on the ascendancy.
Bees feast on saw palmetto and cabbage palm, their buzzing so loud, it stops me in my tracks. At Myakka State Forest, a tiny green bee lands on the green eyes I am photographing.
Rivers wander. They spread over the land, and as I step onto the bank to photograph the Myakka in flood, a loud splash reminds me that alligators wander, too. At night, the bellowing of males resonates through swampy areas.
The sun reigns supreme. At noon, it casts magnificent shadows on canopy roads. Our star is on the ascendancy until the solstice on June 21, the official start of summer. Months after, it oh so slowly moves southward, with Earth proceeding on its annual trek.
For a time Gulf waters are placid as a millpond. May’s tropical storm is history; hurricanes are yet to come. Beachgoers feast on Rothko palettes of greens and blues.
Industrial parks are not exempt from the orgy. Green growing things brave heat and air pollution to pull in pollinators. In these days of diminishing habitats, the offerings are a precious oasis for birds, dragonflies and butterflies.
Summer makes the big city festive. Natives and tropicals dress up sidewalks and thoroughfares. Poinciana reigns in old Miami.
At home, low humidity allows us to throw open windows and doors of the house to admit breezes, birdsong and the scent of flowers, balm for sequestered souls. Gardens prosper, especially in these COVID days when we are confined to home and garden. After months of planning and weeks of planting, gardeners are rewarded with new arrivals and return of the perennials.
These days other realities intrude. Grim news alerts of disease and death flash on my cell phone. Yet another black man has been shot; more deaths from the virus. Peace and beauty falls in shards at my feet.
Then once again, when I am out in nature, the pain of the world recedes. Hope re-emerges that one day we will all be one. The world will be at peace. The planet will heal.
Nothing so fine as a summer day.