On the first day of June, I had an epiphany. I was overwhelmed with the realization that this year soon will be half over. How did we get to this point with such alacrity? We began the year still shackled by COVID’s bondage. The pace was benign, the long days racked with melancholy.
Attendance at sporting venues still trended downward and mask sales remained brisk through March and into April, when the cloud lifted — to say nothing of spirits. Business as usual seems to have returned for the most part — unless you watch the nightly news.
June, according to a modicum of research, was named for the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage. Is that why so many weddings take place in June?
Once upon a time, those of the farm and agriculture ilk delighted in going barefoot come June, but I knew a few hearty types who went barefoot year ‘round.
You remember the legendary Johnny Appleseed. He was a barefoot aficionado, as was Arthur Woody, Georgia’s famous wildlife ranger who is credited with bringing deer back into our state after seeing his father kill the last deer in Georgia in 1895. For the record, Georgia’s gardener, Walter Reeves, pads around his house and yard as unshod as he was the day he was born.
I am an alumnus of the going-barefoot-in-the-spring alliance, but am proud to say all that is behind me. Where I grew up, there were too many sandspurs and tree roots.
That is why I have worn out a number of pairs of Docksiders. I respect my tender feet. An embedded sandspur or a consequentially stumped toe means you are without any desire to be known as having the toughest feet in the neighborhood.
June’s full moon will be the Strawberry Moon, which will occur on June 24. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Strawberry Moon will peak at 2:40 p.m. in the afternoon, “but will not appear above the horizon until just after sunset.”
Know why it is called the Strawberry Moon? Glad you asked. My source is, again, the Farmer’s Almanac. “The real reason we call it the strawberry moon is because the Algonquin tribe did many, many years ago. Yeah, despite the fact that it sounds like a super modern millennial kind of name to give the moon, like the super duper moon, it is not our generation’s doing. See, this moon is June’s full moon, which is right around the time that the summer solstice begins. During this time, fruits become incredibly ripe, specifically strawberries. The Algonquin tribes called the moon the strawberry moon to remind themselves to pick the strawberries before they get overripe or eaten by animals.”
June 20 is Father’s Day (mine did right by me, but the world is full of many whose didn’t); it is also summer solstice day, the day with the most daylight hours — unless you reside in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is the beginning of winter.
For former Georgia defensive star Richard Tardits, June 20 will be a bittersweet day. “Le Sack” will arise early in his hometown of Biarritz, France, swim in the Atlantic, play golf or tennis, surf for a while, work hard for a while, enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and flash a thumbs up to the “longest day.”
Then he will prepare for the days to become shorter and shorter, which makes him sadder and sadder.
“I always look forward to the days getting longer so I can enjoy being outdoors,” Richard said one summer when I visited him at his golf course in the Pyrenees. “When the days start getting shorter, it is a frustrating time for me.”
Weather folklore: If June be sunny, harvest comes early.
June’s birth flower: honeysuckle or rose. Everything comes up roses when you can smell the fragrance of honeysuckle.
As you enjoy June, take inspiration from the words of poet Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford:
“Ah, happy day, refuse to go! Hang in the heavens forever so!
Forever in the midafternoon, Ah, happy day of happy June!”