We’re thick into the summer now, with a smear of humidity, and the breeze this evening through the open window and balcony door rich with the sweet scent of freshly mown grass, the nocturnal animals calling and chirruping.
I have this vision of summertime involving sweating glasses of refreshing lemonade, and every year about this time, I realize there’s lemonade, but the sweat drips from my hand. More likely these days, there’s a cup of coffee beside my laptop, my toes grimy already from an early morning weed in the garden.
July is the month of verdant growth – not a month to miss in Vermont. But while the garden is growing, and the jewelweed and ferns and raspberries march in, the human realm doesn’t seem to pause, either. Some of this is just fantastic – the radiant happiness of a ten-year-old at art camp (oh joy!) this week – but our lives have no pause, no genuine respite from the undercurrents of our inner lives. Perhaps this is simply the nature of being human, and the lushness of summer echoes our own midsummer madness.
In the Thoreau paper I’m writing, I propose Walden is a spherical whole, where all aspects of the natural and human worlds are intertwined. Joy knots around a kernel of sadness, and grief holds a gleaming ribbon of happiness.
Here’s Paul Gruchow again:
But the fact is that the same dramas and miracles of life occur in Windom (Minnesota) as in Tokyo. People are born, they struggle to live worthy and productive lives, they are challenged by fate, buffeted by setbacks and disappointments, heartened in unexpected hours, visited by evil and grace alike, and come to sudden and premature or to lingering and overdue deaths everywhere in the world.
Go for a swim in a cold, deep lake, with its illusive bottom. Eat cherries with kids and spit the stones, laughing. Lie awake at night listening to the breeze dappling the maple leaves.