Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Summertime Posted by Hello

Now comes the good old summertime. It is that time of year when nature, quietly but impressively, demonstrates its growing power. Trees have completed the old but ever amazing process of putting forth their thousands of leaves. I've always wondered how a tree knows when to adorn itself with leaves and how it does it. From the stark, bare branches of winter to the green leaves of summer is one of the astonishing miracles by which nature adds charm and beauty to our lives.

Flowers everywhere are adding to summer's festive character and the songs of birds joyouslly fill the air. Nests are in the trees and other nooks which father and mother birds have carefully selected. Balmy breezes blow softly and golden sunshine filters down through branches to fall gently upon chipped green grass. Corn is coming up in the fields. As the old saying goes, " It will be knee-high by the Fourth of July." Wind ripples caressingly over the growing wheat. At such times we may find ourselves repeating those familiar and famous lines from The Vision of Sir Launfal by 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...

Everything is perfection since good God, the Creator, designed and made it all. And He never did anything badly. But, with all respectful deference, I cannot help wondering, come every summer, just why the Lord thought necessary to make mosquitoes and flying insects. Oh, I know it has to do with natures's balance and all that; still I must confess these creatures surely interfere with the perfect pleasures of summertimes.

A few years ago, I purchased two old-fashioned rocking chairs from a firm down in Georgia that has been making them since before the Civil War, or if you're reading this down South, the "War Between the States." We have an 1830 house in Dutchess County, New York, just over the Connecticut line. It stands on a hill overlooking a great valley, its white pillars marking the wide front porch, which looks west toward the Hudson River.

Around the corner is a side porch looking over a valley southward. And the back porch off the kitchen looks over anther valley into Connecticut. Here were placed these great rocking chairs. From this peaceful vantage, we look over a wide sweep of land, through great maples, across the valley to hills beyond.

On a warm summer afternoon or in the cool of twilight, I like to sit here with my wife, Ruth, rocking in perfect enjoyment until the mosquitoes surge in to attack all exposed parts and the gnats come en masse, buzzing and stinging. So, finally, thoughts about summer. But actually, not even that affects the joy and glory of summer, the beautiful season at the fullness of the year.

Sometimes on a peaceful and lovely summer day I find myself reciting these lines of Robert W. Service:

The summer -- no sweeter was ever;
The sunshiny woods all athrill;
The grayling aleap in the river;
The bighorn asleep on the hill.

The strong life that never knows harness;
The wilds where the caribou call;
The freshness, the freedom, the farness --
O God! how I'm stuck on it all

From childhood to old age we love it, the good old summertime.


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