Hal Borland: 'Now it's summer'

by Rich Heffern

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This was written by Hal Borland, long-time nature columnist for The New York Times.

Now it is summer by the almanac. Summer came with the solstice yesterday, when, to give "solstice" its literal meaning, the sun stood still. It was turning the corner of the seasons, and now it begins to move south again, as we say, toward fall and winter.

We are at the time of the longest daylight, earliest sunrise and latest sunset, which will continue with only a few seconds of change for another week. Time, if we would only pause and let it flow over us, for a little while partakes of the deliberation that is the mark of summer in almost everyhing except human affairs.

Spring has its own haste. Spring is sprouting and burgeoning, the opening of the leaf and the blossom. It is mating and birthing, the hatching of the egg, the spreading wing, the urgency of the bee and the wasp, the surge of green across the Earth. Then the first rush is over, the trees are vast canopies of cholorophyll, the meadows tall with grass, the fields thick-bladed with corn and oats. June matures into summer, and the quiet process of growth for which April and May were a time of preparation. Summer becomes a summary of spring's achievement, a totaling of sun and rain and fertile soil added to the substance of the seed and the root.

Spring's urgency is past. The berries ripen in their own time. The bees replenish the hive. Clover comes to sweet blossom, then to seed. Daisies whiten the roadsides. Fireflies sparkle in the evenings. Time flows like the brooks that must have leisured through Eden when summer blessed a young and innocent Earth.

-- Excerpted from Hal Borland's Twelve Moons of the Year, edited by Barbara Dodge Borland, published by Alfred A. Knopf

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