In his ode to summer, “Dandelion Wine,” Ray Bradbury identifies June, July and August as summer. And as opposed to the calendar and the astronomical basis for the definition of summer that it measures, every school boy of my generation knew it to be these same months. And this year especially, the beginning of June is every bit as much summer as the more legitimate last week. Today will be close to ninety degrees. Nothing defines summer more than that Fahrenheit measure. Ninety degrees Fahrenheit is summer.
And so, the laziness that is the glory of summer already holds me in thrall. I have a laundry list of yard chores and yet I spend my time walking around the yard looking at flowers and bugs and listening to the birds quarrel over their nest sites and the fattest grubs. Every once in a while, I’ll pull a weed but despite Camera Girl’s hectoring, I rarely carry the plucked plant to the mulch pile. I usually just drop it where I found it. Just too lazy to make the effort. And that is the beauty of summer; giving in to the pleasure of lazy heat. Every dog, every lizard knows the ecstasy of laying in the hot sun. The heat bakes into your bones and the oven air scorches your lungs. It’s remarkable. And that is why the seashore is so perfect a summer setting. It allows you to get that feeling over and over again. You take the heat until it becomes unbearable, then a plunge into the cold water quenches the heat and you’re ready to do the whole thing over again. The therapeutic effects of a week or two by the sea can sometimes offset a whole year of office drudgery and even a long New England winter’s worth of cold.
And while I’m at play in the fields of the Lord I can forget for a few moments all of the absurd nonsense that infects the present-day world around me. I can forget the culture war and the collapse of western civilization and even the internet drudgery that I have embraced. I don’t have to read what the pundits are saying and what the fake news is trumpeting. I can forget about war drones following their GPS paths to destruction and watch their natural world analog as a dragonfly patrols the perimeter of the yard, as mechanical and precise as the machine but much more lyrical.
Later on, today I’ll get around to reading the awful news and the boring opinions of the pundits. And I will have to be out and about on my list of chores. But it was nice to be up and around early this morning and see the fields while it was still cool and moist. All that moisture will be sucked up into the blast furnace of noon and I will take another walk to experience that too. The grasshoppers and the bees will be about their chores and I’ll look for a good photo or two (or two hundred) and I’ll even knock an item or two from the chore list. But summer’s begun and the living is easy. Enjoy it if you can.