We’ve already pushed to the far side of lilac season and now the peonies are about to pop open. Lavender lupines line the highway. The robin family fledged and flew away one day–we missed the big event, after all our patient understanding. The lake still has another two feet until full pool, but boats buzzed around the lake over the Memorial Day holiday, in glorious warm sunshine. It feels like Summer is coming on fast. Sarah asked what we’d been up to the other day, and I told her we were just busy getting ready for Summer. Years ago, getting ready for Summer meant throwing a few annuals into the yard, but, now, it seems we are always either getting ready for Winter or getting ready for Summer!
They are such altogether different worlds, here in the north country, and it truly does require a lot of advance preparation when we switch over. A friend is having a group for lunch this week, and along with the detailed directions to her house in the woods (including the instructions always given here in Montana: “if you get to a row of mailboxes, back up a little ways because you’ve gone too far”), she apologized in advance that their property was still “a wreck from winter”. We’ve hunkered down, slowed down, and become somewhat slovenly during that cold, dark season, and there is a certain frenzy involved in getting up to speed for all the long days, late sunset nights, and myriad of outdoor activities right outside our door. When I moaned to Don the other day that I was exhausted, he reminded me that every year it takes time to train up for Summer. It’s a process, both physically and emotionally, to leave the cozy cocoon of a long winter, and take flight into the lightness and brightness of summertime.
Part of my training is to not go to bed until I’ve watched the sunset. This is no easy feat when the day gets going shortly after 5. a.m. in my house. I sat on the dock Tuesday night, on a most tranquil of evenings, after all the boating and hooting and hollering of Memorial Day had passed. The water was limpid and blue-velvety and the air was soft and sweet, utterly still. Far out in the lake, all alone, there was a girl, standing on a paddle board, gliding by with rhythmic strokes from side to side. It would be dark within an hour and I wondered where she would come into shore. I could see that she wasn’t wearing a life jacket. The first quarter moon was up, and the golden light of summer began to leave the sky, when I went up to bed. Falling asleep, I imagined what it must have felt like to be that girl, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, on a magical ride, over blue velvet under the moonlight.
Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow