My birthday is the first day of June, the first day of what you might as well call summer, so what if it’s technically late spring, school is out or almost out, everything is green, you can wear shorts and a t-shirt, and summer stretches out ahead like eternity. Irises peak, sure they started in May, but every year on my birthday they’re all in bloom, showing off, purple yellow mauve blue pink peach bearded crested dutch they’re everywhere.
And school’s over and things slow down and soon it’ll be warm enough to swim and lie in the sun and swim again. Everyone smiles because winter is over and we have time off and we relax, maybe travel a little, to the mountains, to the ocean, and it gets hotter and then it’s July.
And summer is in full force but still plenty of time left of warm, July is right in the middle and we’re swimming every day and stretching out on the grass and the hum of crickets and the purr of lawnmowers and the smell of clean and plants and warm porch wood. The air might sit for a bit but then a breeze comes and swirls away the mosquitoes and the crickets and the peepers keep up their endless song and July, yes, that’s when summer really sets in and we relax and take it in.
Right now it’s April and the buds haven’t popped yet but soon they will and an explosion of color in May and I hold my breath for June and endless July.
This year might be different. We may need to stay in, or go out gingerly, six feet apart, faces covered. What will July be like with a mask. What will June be like inside. We don’t know anything. We only know that today we stayed inside, tomorrow we will too, and news will trickle in, wear a mask, don’t, go shopping infrequently, get delivery, wash your hands wash your hands wash your hands and stay home.
In June? In July? While the trees get green and lush and the crickets sing and the irises burst and fade? Stay indoors?
Sit on the porch and sing to the neighbors. We can at least do that, if we have a porch.
And we can wash our hands, but we can’t wash our hands of this. We can wash our hands and keep washing our hands in June and July and this, this pandemic, makes prediction impossible, except there will be green and heat and irises, maybe not swimming. There will be dying amid the green and the crickets and the mosquitoes. And we will wash our hands.