With a perfect 80 degree sunny day and late night-post strawberry harvesting till dusk bonfire to welcome it in, summer arrived according to the skies this Wednesday. In some parts of the country, the reference to the summer solstice not as the beginning of summer but as midsummer might be more accurate, but for us, it does feel like we don’t really slip into summer until July.
In fact, it was so rainy yesterday that the farmer had to pull out all his rain gear to finish harvesting. And we weren’t quite sure what to do about finishing that strawberry harvest; wet strawberries sitting in paper pulp pint containers for too long didn’t sound like a good idea. And so, even though it was still raining this morning, we rose early to finish and the berries all looked good this morning.
Still, even with the rain, there are a number of solstice celebrations happening this weekend and we have put up the start of our summer bucket list on the blackboard and I am hoping to put down in writing a few camping trips and special days to make sure that they happen. All good signs.
Because really there is but one thing to make sure of in this shortest of Willamette Valley seasons, folks; love up that sunshine! Make each of these long days count. Summer is best lived loud and large and outside! If possible, let this season burst the seams.
On the farm, it is really amazing how much we pack into and rely on such a short number of weeks. But all the work and all the play are worth it. That golden orb that warms the ground and our bodies is close by and burning bright for the next six weeks or so before it already tips closer to the fall equinox than this here summer solstice.
Here is one of the most quoted and most beloved Mary Oliver poems. It’s been a few years since I shared it, but it’s a good one to start the summer off with.
May your summer be a shining one!
The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?