Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Foretastes of Heaven

Spring Overlook,
Moreau Lake State Park
June 21, 2010

When the yellow lily flowers in the meadows,
and the red in dry lands and by wood-paths,
then, methinks, the flowering season has reached its height.
They surprise me as perhaps no more can.
Now I am prepared for anything.
HDT's Journal, July 7, 1852

Solstice Greetings to One and All!

A year ago, I celebrated this day by taking the trail up to Spring Overlook.
I walked alone and saw many wonderful things.

It was time to go up there again.
This time, there were four of us making the journey:
Jackie, Rebecca, Cliff and myself.
Among other things, it was a quest to see the Wood-Lilies, which are blooming now on the sunny slopes off the trail.

The last time I came up here, on a gently warm spring day of this year, the path was lined with violets.
Today, there were only a few lonely bluets here and there to echo the sky's color.

You have to look harder at this time of year to see the life in the shady woods.

But as Thoreau notes in his Journal, the flowers have progressed from pale and gentle colors, through yellows and orange, to culminate in the ultimate summer flower - what he called the Red Lily.

It "makes freckles beautiful," he said.

Somehow it hides in the ferns, and one can walk past it unknowing.

But once it catches your eye, you are drawn to it, helpless as a butterfly to resist.

Lily-Hunters: Mission Accomplished !

Ah, that's a bit misleading -- despite the fact that we are doing a survey of these native flowers, we are also taking it easy on this walk, letting summer into all of our senses.

Once at the Overlook, we all just stand there awhile.
I confess that I was talking too much. It seems a holy place.
Eventually we all settled down --
being still -- absorbing the sun's rays -- botanizing -- as befit each of our natures.

Your attention is torn between the beautiful view in front of you--

and the fact that on the rocks behind you -- blueberries are ripening in nursery colors.

It's great to have friends in high places.

No, this is not a photo of an altitude-sickness attack :

I had suggested we start a tradition of eating a blueberry without using one's hands.
We all partook.
Jackie thought I had said that this was ALREADY a time-honored tradition, and with her usual gusto, gave it a try.

Bobbing for vaccinium !

(Later, no one took me up on doing the same with the red raspberries we found. Doing the limbo under those prickly canes did not appeal to anyone.)

We all agreed, however, that it was a wonderful way to spend a Midsummer's Day.

Are our serene moments
mere foretastes of heaven
Joys gratuitously vouchsafed to us

as a consolation –
Or simply
a transient realization of what might be
The whole tenor of our lives?
Journal, June 22 1851

1 comment:

  1. What a joy to revisit our celebratory hike through your beautiful blog! Your photos, as always, are amazing, and your quotes from Thoreau so apt.