Finding June Before It's Too Late

Finding June Before It's Too Late

Dana Velden
Jun 23, 2013

Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly. 
~Pablo Neruda

Did you notice that it's almost over, this first month of the summer? It's not too late, but you must act quickly!  Head outside because June is something best felt on the skin: the sun, the warm afternoon breezes, the lake water that's still almost too cold. It's the height of the solstice and the evening light is like a good friend lingering long at your dinner table, welcomed and fascinating. Lean into it and soak in all you can.  Ask your most secret questions and be ready for whatever it offers in return.

Everything in June is still searching and growing and reaching out towards the sun, greedy to capture as much of its heat and energy as possible. In the past few weeks, the colors of the fields and gardens have deepened from pale green to the lush, darker abundance of a serious, more determined production: zucchini, green beans, basil. In the markets, I give into the tease of it's-a-little-early-but-I'll-take-'em fresh ears of corn and zucchini, and snatch up baskets of strawberries before it grows too hot for them to fruit. 

For me, the essence of this particular late June can be found in my first basket of local cherry tomatoes. They may not be the platonic tomato of August but they're still firm, and sweet, and nearly perfect. I don't make anything with them, not even a salad. I just leave them in a bowl in the middle of my kitchen table. All day long, I pass by and grab one or two like they're candy (because they are candy!), swipe them briefly in a little bowl of salt, and pop them into my mouth. The way the skin breaks under my teeth, the explosion of sweet and acid is a pleasure like none other.  

Each time I grab a tomato and eat it, it stops me dead in my tracks.  And how could it not? How can anything be this wonderful? How can I take in this much perfection? I can't, truthfully: it's too much for me but but I stand there anyway and receive as much as possible until it fills me all the way up, until I can feel June from head to toe, from one end of my limits to the other. And then I swallow and head out the door and into the glorious warmth of summer, satisfied and nourished.

Have you found June yet?  What does it look like?  What does it taste like?

(Image: Dana Velden)

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