Sunday, August 3, 2014

The carousel of time

The sun is shining; temperature is 81F; there's a light southerly breeze; the sky is full of scattered cumulus clouds; songbirds (robins, bluebirds, goldfinch, rose breasted grosbeaks et. al.) are flying from tree to grass to tree. If I went for a walk along the road, I'd soon be surrounded by a swarm of deer flies. Many, but not all, of the wildflowers have gone to seed. The yellow day lilies are in bloom. Small planes occasionally fly over, sounding like oversize bees.

yellow day lily in bloom
yellow day lily in bloom
Photo by J. Harrington

I've noticed that we've been way less consistent getting to any of the local farmers markets than we were last summer picking up our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share box every week from the Women's Environmental Institute. We also haven't been  overcome by kale. Finding that happy medium is a challenge. It's now late enough in the season to confirm that the black chokeberry bushes aren't going to be fruitful this year. No clue as to why. Last year they looked like this.

Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Photo by J. Harrington

Before I started paying more attention to what's happening in the neighborhood during different seasons, I rarely tried to compare one year to the next on a seasonal basis. With the year-round delivery of fruits like apples, it's easy to lose track or to become overly reliant on social markers such as holidays. I was more in tune to the out doors when I was a kid and a teenager. It was after I started to work regularly 9 to 5, 50 or 52 weeks a year, that I measured the year by "fishing opener," "small game opener," Thanksgiving etc. Life, at least for me, becomes fuller and more enjoyable when tracking seasonal changes is more than an incidental activity. Joni Mitchell sums it up nicely in her song

The Circle Game

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you're older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game *

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him take your time it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game


© Siquomb Publishing Company

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