"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Always June


My husband Gerry and I spent the first eleven days of this month in Australia, somewhere we had never been before. On June 1st, Gerry was driving us to the airport, while I sat quietly in the passenger's seat browsing through my latest Martha Stewart magazine. No sooner had I marked the above page with a little bookmark than my friend Katie texted me the following visual:

"Thought you'd like this quote from The Oprah Magazine.
Happy June!"

I wish it were a bit more legible, but take a closer look at the caption under the summer fruit and you'll find the exact same passage from Lucy Maud Montgomery. I loved the idea that at the exact same moment, Katie -- at her desk taking a break from her writing -- and I -- in the car on the way to Indianapolis -- were connected through our reading of these beautiful summery words from Anne of the Island, used in one case to illustrate the perfect summer bike ride, and in another to accompany an array of delicious seasonal berries and peaches.

I took a quick photo of the page in front of me and texted it back to Katie: "Funny coincidence. I brought along Martha Stewart Living to look at in the car on the way to the airport. Just got to this page then took a break to check my phone and got your message with Oprah page. Could it be that both magazines share the same literary editor?!"

Katie replied with her usual charm: "You were obviously meant to be seeing that great quote today! Happy June and happy travels!"

Red Leaf at
The Chinese Garden of Friendship
Sydney, Australia ~ June 9, 2017

I'm pretty sure that we readers from the northern hemisphere know exactly what L. M. Montgomery means when she wonders "what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June." She means, if only it could always be summertime!

Likewise James Russell Lowell when he asks: "And what is so rare as a day in June? / Then, if ever, come perfect days."

And Emily Dickinson When she exclaims that "My only sketch, profile of heaven is a large blue sky, / larger than the biggest I have seen in June -- and in it are my friends -- all of them -- every one them."

In our prose and in our poetry, June and summer are synonyms! As are October and autumn! Gillian Flynn explains it perfectly: "I had seen the photos . . . always with autumn colors in the background, as if the school were based not in a town but in a month, October." October is practically a place! It's certainly a season.

We know that George Eliot must be thinking of October -- not June -- when she declares: "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."

As it turns out, that's kind of what Gerry and I did. We flew around the world and found another autumn! In Sydney, June does not mean summer; it means a very mild and mellow (except for that one really stormy day) late autumn. Even more disconcerting than the 26 - hour time difference and the jet lag, was this sense of what I call season lag. Could it really be coming on to winter but not coming on to Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas?

I guess the reverse was true last December in Medellin,
wearing summer clothes, photographing the tropical plants,
and admiring the Christmas lights without a snowflake in sight.

Yet, somehow my mind could bridge the disconnect of a warm December with greater ease than a chilly June. After all, I've visited Florida in December and seen the poinsettias sitting out on the front porches -- something you could never do in the Midwest! But never before had I seen leaves falling in June! I had to pinch myself a few times as a reminder: yes it is June, yes it is autumn!

An Autumnal Perspective ~ June 9, 2017
The Anglican Cathedral of St Andrew
Sydney Town Hall ~ Constructed 1886
Surrounded by a combination of green trees and fall leaves

Speaking of wandering the globe, Happy Bloomsday!
~ Coming up June 16th

The Return of Odysseus
by Romare Bearden (1911 - 1988)
And more! ~ Look at these!

Next Fortnightly Post
Wednesday, June 28th

Between now and then, read
my shorter, almost daily blog posts

Looking for a good book? Try
my running list of recent reading

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