“And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days”
James Russell Lowell
I remember memorizing this poem by 19th century Romantic poet, James Russell Lowell, in my freshman high school English class for Miss Frye. This morning when I walked out the door for my morning walk to the park, the true essence of the poem caught me … it's taken quite a few years for the impact to hit. Lowell was born here in New England and must have experienced the very same feeling I did this morning in order to capture it the way he did, so very simply, in his writing.
There was a light breeze. The temperature was lovely … warm, but not hot … no sweater needed. Filtered sun in a broken blue sky warmed my back, but didn't burn. Earlier in the season, perhaps it would have been too cool at this time of day or the flowers wouldn't have bloomed yet. Later in the season, the heat and humidity will be oppressive. But this day in June …this day was perfect. I could have walked forever, but I had to keep stopping because every time I visit Bird Park there's always something new and different to see and I hate to miss a thing. Some days I go two or three times. Turtles were out of the pond and laying eggs today. I saw two rather large snappers dragging their heavy, clumsy, not-designed-for-land bodies up a hill and digging holes in the soft dirt to deposit their eggs. Laborious efforts to procreate.
I could hear a woodpecker somewhere nearby. Robins, ravens, sparrows, chicadees and blackbirds all added to the morning chorus. The soft cooing of mourning doves could be heard when the other birds took a break. I walked by some birdhouses away from the main path and barn swallows had taken up residence. They weren't keen on my being too close and swooped down a few times to make their feelings known.
The geese and ducks were preening and planning their day. Some lay along the edge of the pond. Others urged their young ones into the water for a morning swim. The goslings are growing most noticeably. Most have lost their yellow down feathers and have gained significant weight and size in the last week or so. I try to give them plenty of distance, but this morning they were heading right for me and finally just went around me when I didn't move … no hissing involved.
There aren't many ducks around … only one mallard that I've seen. He comes and goes at will. One female has a duckling and another has two. I seldom see them in the same pond although you'd think they'd enjoy each other's company once in awhile. I think the geese have pretty much taken over the area with all their goslings and the ducks seem to be low on the pond hierarchy and keep to themselves.
A pair of herons sit sentry in one of the two ponds every day. This morning only one was around. He stood stock still, watching for breakfast and nabbed a fish in the blink of an eye. The fish was down his gullet and the heron resumed his statue-pose without the slightest hesitation.
Wild multiflora roses are in bloom now. Their fragrance is so sweet as it wafts on the breeze. I catch a whiff of it as I'm walking past and it's hard not to smile. Laurel are beginning to bloom, too. The smells mingle with the freshly cut grass on the manicured lawns. Omnipresent dandelion and hawkweed cover parts of the unmown hill and certain areas have been left to grow tall grasses.
I sat on a cement park bench for a few minutes just to appreciate it all. Carpe diem … especially those “diems” in June.