The seasons seem more and more askew with each passing year. Summer now appears to be the most convoluted of them all. Is it because I live in Massachusetts, where we have traditionally enjoyed quite reliable and beautiful presentations of spring, summer, autumn, and winter? Is it because I’m closing in on fifty and have seen how bizarrely the cycles have altered in recent years? Out of all the strange changes, it’s summer which seems to have gone most topsy-turvy. Which has been stretched and folded like circus candy taffy.
It used to be that spring’s gentle breezes really did linger from the March equinox through mid-June’s arrival of stronger sunshine. Despite clothing stores’ exhortations to start buying-buying-buying on Memorial Day Weekend, one could still treasure yoga on the back porch in early June. One could still walk barefoot along the shore without feeling like a broiled lobster. That kind of heat was reserved for July and August. The true summer months.
But the seasons are compressing. Pulling. Changing. Winter’s fury pummels deep into April and the plants barely have time to bud and blossom before the oven begins. And if the plants can’t grow, the animals who rely on them suffer. The ripples spread outward.
We need to care about this. We have only one planet. It’s this planet or nothing. Our time here is already a mere blink of an eye compared with dinosaurs. They were a blink of an eye compared with mollusks, and so on. There’s nothing to say humans have to have a place on Earth beyond this century. It is up to us to make it work or to watch it fail.
Our Summer Solstice issue celebrates all that is beautiful about this precious home we share. In poetry, words, and images we treasure the glittering reflection of moonlight on a lake. A rippling silent sea of grass. The elusive scent of roses. Rippled clouds in a blue sky. Delicate butterflies exploring blossoms. A brilliant rainbow.
Our issue also delves into the chaos and uncertainty which often twines itself into human relationships. Our non-fiction aches with true-life rawness. A young boy is abused by his father. A young girl is bullied for being asthmatic. A woman is haunted into adulthood by being given up for adoption. An older man gives up on life, leaving behind his wife and the woman who refused to be his mistress. Images remind us that the grand buildings and architecture we create all eventually return to rubble. It fades back into the Earth.
And the Earth complacently goes on.