Springtime in New York encapsulates revived youth. Rejuvenation from seemingly lifeless barren landscapes begins in February, like a helpless newborn, with thrusting bulbs, swelling buds, and other tantalizing promises. March represents the tiny baby stage, where amazing changes happen rapidly, but there is as yet no recognizable speech nor much motor coordination. April breaks out as a cute toddler full of promise, but quickly morphs into a petulant May adolescent who alternately excites or disappoints with cold, or rain, or lovely days, or bright blossoms. Ah, but then comes June. A brilliant young adult out to change the world.
“Crisp” describes Huntington outdoors as June begins. Foliage has not yet developed a patina of dirt, nor has it been ravaged by the stress of drought and depredations of insects. Flowers bloom abundantly, tended by bees of various types. Grass has a special emerald glow. Everywhere there is a peculiarly clean odor of restlessness, often punctuated by clouds of scent from surprising vegetation. Waves of flowers have come and gone, always replaced by new ones.
Air remains crystalline, untroubled by the later humid haze and smog of summer. Especially this year, distant views stretch clearly in sharp focus even to the far Connecticut shoreline. Morning fog clears to bright clarity. Occasional showers wash tenderly. I take a deep breath, trying to appreciate the fact that our atmosphere exists, and that I can still take advantage of its often ignored wonders.
Early June floral displays are perhaps the most inspiring of all. Although the cherry blossoms are long gone, and memories of tulips almost ancient, flowering shrubs are everywhere. Fading azalea blossoms provide a thick coat of brilliance. Rhododendrons explode with purple, white, and red cannon balls. Over it all floats delicate pink and white dogwood. Roses parade as if summoned by bugle calls. Although the grand drooping plumes of purple wisteria have dried away, day by day another midsummer flower such as wild white daisies bursts on the scene.
If spring seems a metaphor for hope, June is that hope realized. What were merely dreams _ late evenings, swimming in salt water, lazy hazy times, vacation plans _ are available to our waking moments. Yet it is not yet horribly hot nor humid, we do not need to seek shelter at midday, we can still take long pleasant walks without desperate rehydration. And, mostly, all of this is still new. Just like arriving at a carnival for the first time as a young child, nature is all flash and brilliance and thrilling mysteries. We have had no time to become jaded, have not yet been bothered by mosquitoes, can relish each moment outdoors.
Solstice approaches in less than a month, the brilliant rays glint off morning dewdrops coating flickering grass blades. Strong angles sparkle on waves, a magic canvas for boats large and small swarming into Long Island Sound. Evenings linger almost too long for those of us exhausted by taking advantage of earlier dawn and the temptations of long walks. Oh, and of course the various ambitions and chores and exercises newly available _ planting flower beds, mowing lawns, touching up the house, trimming shrubs. Sun comes up as it goes down _ huge, fiery red, reminding us that it is indeed our true god.
June is a great time, even in bad times. I sometimes think June exactly defines why I love this environment all year, in spite of its problems and climate. But I must stop typing and run outdoors to breathe deeply and experience immersion once again ….