Saturday, June 25, 2011

June Hymn

The tragedy of the Russian Olives, so precious to me, is that they do not endure. Last night, after an afternoon with heat so heavy my feet and chest ached walking through it, I caught what was surely the last hint of perfume from the tree that saturated my apartment only two weeks ago with its lemon-honey, mint fragrance. Duncan and I strolled down The Run as the sun was setting and the world was beginning to turn blue. I'd hoped the evening had cooled but was wrong. Not even the grass could offer consolation to Roo when he plopped down in it and rolled onto his side, his tongue hanging out.

I have been watching those magnificent yellow blossoms darken and plump up, their weight enough to pull the limbs of the tree low to the ground as they do when a heavy, wet, late-spring snow falls on them. But slowly, over the past week those flowers have bleached under the scrutiny of the sun's light and those branches have begun to cast them off and rise back up. Their fragrance has diminished and I have felt that space in my spirit which has been so fulfilled by it begin to ache with a longing for next June.

I stood a long time at the fence and breathed it in, closing my eyes with the hope of not wasting a single cherished ounce of it. Finally the breeze off the golf course changed direction and it was gone. I stood a long time watching the shadows gather around the base of the tree and turned my thoughts to July when the Lindens blossom and the world is sweetened one last time before the brutal charge of August and the inevitable cooling of September.

As beautiful as the summer solstice was I could not help but feel melancholy at its arrival. For six months my eyes and heart have watched the sun rise higher and higher in the sky, staying longer each day, tasting sweeter on the tongue and caressing my skin more tenderly as it did so. There are still many months of summer left, especially in Denver where it can sometimes last into late October, but its too easy for me to forget that and focus on its passing. So tonight I let Duncan lead me down Leawood, the quiet neighborhood that almost feels as though it's a part of my past, the kind of place where I wish I owned a porch and could oversee my children and grandchildren as they play in the yard under the grove of Aspens I have planted and watched grow for thirty years. We have not been there lately and it seems we only go when I need to be reminded of something or when I feel detached and wandering. It is a place of found objects so I knew that going there would ground me in these last days of June and reignite my passion for the remaining days of Summer. As we passed through it I began to softly whistle "June Hymn" by The Decemberists, and I felt the exuberance of the season return with each step we took, with each bunny Dunc wanted to rouse from their lazy loungings in the shaded grass, with the color bursting all around us, even from the sidewalks that held our weight as we passed across them.

It was enough to make June fresh and new again, to liven my step and remind me of the magic still so strong this summer. It is too early to mourn its passing despite the yellowing of the white blossoms and whitening of the yellow ones. The freckles are still strong on my cheeks and arms, and the low vibrato of bee song among the symphony of the flowers is still joyous and lively.

A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst to bloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room

And once upon it

The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
And you were waking
And day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill.
(The Decemberists, "June Hymn")


Finn said...

Look at that color! The purples and yellows are amazing!

Bailey Be Good! said...

Such beautiful flower photos!! My hu-sister takes lots of photos, so I know beautiful when I see it! ;)

Woofs & hugs,

~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)