Earth Journal:

June is busting out all over ... in May

by M.L. Faunce

Salad days of summer start early this year, thanks to El Niño.

Much of the spring season has been on fast forward in Bay country. In a season slightly out of sync, blossoms and buds burst out simultaneously. An early verdant backdrop of emerald grass and trees made for a spectacular setting. Iris bloomed before the azaleas faded. May's sweet lily of the valley perfumed the air in April. Lilacs have come and gone. Black locust, that roadside spiny wonder of a tree that cascades flowers like bunches of white grapes, are fading long before the usual summer entry. With nearly every flowering and blossoming plant coming to life here at the same time, you might wonder what's left.

Nature normally saves the best for us in June as we trade blossoms for fruit. This year, June's coming early. I pulled a bed of strawberries for space last fall, and now keep finding them popping up everywhere, including my mulch pile. My plum tree already has crimson fruit the size of cherries. Blueberry shrubs are so thick they will soon entice hungry, marauding birds. Raspberry canes trail and grow bushy in a raised bed I meant to be temporary, soon promising a full crop of the pale golden variety.

Already, we're well into the salad days of summer. Lettuce grows lush and leafy with all the rain (I know, the lawn grows tall, too). As salad greens flourish, my two vegetarian dachshunds rejoice. They've never had it so good. Day lilies pop out daily, not waiting for a constant warm sun for their transitory glory.

I don't know what else El Niño has in store for us. Climatologists tell weather forecasters who tell us that things should settle down about now. Does that mean that June, the most perfect month of the year, will be even more perfect? As June, June, June, June, June is busting out all over, you can't get any better than perfection.

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days (in May!)

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VolumeVI Number 19
May 14-20, 1997
New Bay Times

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