The first day of June -- 06/01/04

And what is so rare as a day in June?
      Then, if ever, come perfect days;

I have always thought that some of the most beautiful days of the year came in June.

June has warmth and sunshine without the sometimes oppressive heat and humidity that can come with high summer.

Lawns are green, not brown. Leaves are full, blossoms are everywhere.

The summer solstice brings the longest day and the shortest night. And yet those short June nights can be warm and soft and fragrant.

Of course this June 1st began with temperatures this morning in the upper forties (around 8° for those of you whose thermometers are delineated in metrical degrees) but has managed to crawl up to a high of almost 55° (13°C). Well, at least the rain has stopped.

I did a lot of work in my garden yesterday. A lot of weeding... some with a hoe, but most by hand. I also set up support for my peas and beans (vertical poles pounded into the ground, then twine runing back and forth between poles) and for my tomatoes (wire tomato cages, given extra stability by being tied to vertical poles hammered into the ground), avoid making too many jokes about needing to keep killer tomatoes caged up, etc. That meant tying lots of knots in that twine. After two and a half hours of garden work, I came inside and began fixing dinner (put some split chicken breasts in the oven; peel, cut up, boil some potatoes), then went downstairs and did eight miles on the exercise bike. (I've really got to get back into doing a daily workout every day -- uh, that's instead of having a daily workout that only happens a couple of times per week.)

[Oh, and I guess at some point in there yesterday I washed Jeremy's work clothes from Friday morning -- He's working two jobs -- besides his job in a pizza place, he is working as a general helper to a stone mason a couple of mornings a week. On Friday -- a cold and rainy morning -- he was working with the stone mason, lots of lifting rocks, carrying rocks, pushing wheelbarrows filled with gravel, etc. Sometime past noon I saw him pull into the driveway and stop. My phone rang. It was Jeremy calling on his cell from the car -- could I please open Nancy's side of the garage (winter being over, my side was filled with bicycles and garden supplies). I opened the door and he drove into the garage. His clothes had been so wet (and muddy) that he had undressed and driven home in his boxers but he didn't want to get out of the car in the driveway dressed (undressed?) like that. Yesterday I realized his clothes were hanging on the handles of our wheelbarrow, mostly dry, but very, very dirty. So I took them outside and blasted them with a stream of water from a garden hose, then brought them inside and rinsed them some more and then put them in the washer by themselves set on the heavy duty cycle.]

So this morning I really ached, just that general somebody-was-beating-me-up-all-night-long feeling. Take a couple aspirin. Two hours later do it again. The too-much-activity aches were gone by noon. Now it's around six p.m., getting chilly outside. (Bonnie's complaining about temperatures in Texas hitting triple digits.) Ah well, today's rain stopped before the morning was over and tomorrow is only supposed to be thunderstorms and by Thursday it's only a fifty percent chance of showers. Temperatures the rest of the week should be in the sixties, so that should be a lot more pleasant. (Jeremy was dragging a bit today also; he worked fifteen hours in the pizza shack yesterday.)

Nancy's gone off to her six o'clock tennis match. I should get away from this computer and get in my workout. I don't think I have the ambition for a run -- well, actually, it's more that since I tend to run an out-and-back course, I don't want to reach my turn around point and have it be a struggle to return. I could run a series of three-quarters of a mile or full mile loops of my neighborhood, but I much prefer running on the bike path. I think I'm going to go downstairs and hop on the exercise bike again.

            What Is So Rare As a Day in June -- James Russell Lowell

AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

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