Almanac

By Ashley Wahl

June is a waking dream, a dreamy wakefulness — a dream within a dream. 

Beneath the ancient magnolia, where the earth is cool as a stream and filtered light flickers across your skin like stardust, the crickets have lulled you to sleep. The summer air is a fragrant amalgam of magnolia, bee balm, rose and gardenia, and as you breathe, your dreamscape becomes a fertile garden, lush and vibrant, fueled by the essence of this sensuous season.

Chorus frogs and cicadas join the mélange. Butterflies arrive — a heavenly surge of them — followed by a procession of bees, a metallic troupe of beetles, a shimmer of ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Each breath is the thread of a gorgeous tapestry — an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of movement, color, sound and light. Each breath pollinates the garden.   

You open your eyes.

Were you sleeping, or is this all a dream?

A dragonfly hovers above your head before lighting on your finger like some kind of pet bird. In its stillness, you study those iridescent wings, that thin missile of a body, those monstrous, all-seeing eyes. Again, you wonder: A dream?

As it stares back, eyes like glittering mirrors, you think it could have dreamed you, too.

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.
— Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Tastes Like Summer

Strawberry rhubarb pie. Poetry, isn’t it? Imagine the baker who churned out the first one. 

Why? No need to ask questions. Just . . . thank them.

Reportedly, rhubarb was introduced to the gardens and pies of our continent in the 1700s, after a Maine gardener procured the seed from Europe. Although its leaves are toxic to humans, its celery-like stalks (petioles) are packed with health benefits and take on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with. Strawberries, in this case.

So, is it a fruit or is it a veggie? Botanists call it the latter. And since its early years in the States, the rhubarb has been dubbed the “pie plant.”

June 9 is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Yes, a whole day devoted to this seasonal knockout. If you’re making one from scratch, consider adding orange zest. But don’t stress over the lattice crust. Minor details.

Golden Days

Summer is here, and with it, honeysuckle and roses. Iced tea and pesto. Cucumbers and snap beans straight from the vine. Father’s Day lands on Summer Solstice — Sunday, June 20 — the longest day of the year. Soak up the daylight with pops. If he’s earthside, make memories. Go fish. Build a trellis. Fire up the grill. Alive in spirit? Plant a tree in his honor. Feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the soil, and remember him.

On Thursday, June 24, the Full Strawberry Moon rises in the afternoon. This month’s showstopper will be the last of three supermoons of 2021. Closer to the Earth, it may appear larger and brighter than usual. But such is the magic of Midsummer.

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