Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Centuries of June

Inside a moment / centuries of June
                                                  Emily Dickinson

I sat in a crowded windowless room, set with folding tables full of photocopied programs, teachers and a podium on a small stage, coffee and juice with assorted pastries on a table at the apron.  Dads joking about the lack of air conditioning, students looking various degrees of proud, uncomfortable, in search of a friend.  One family looking at the fruit, which was nearly minced, and then commenting in Russian.  Greetings back and forth between grown ups who had not seen each other since...had it been before the winter holidays?

Me, sitting with my own child, watching how he responded to the situation out of the corner of my eye, while taking in the assortment of teachers grouped in various spots around the room.  Remembering being one of those teachers.  Remembering being one of those students.  Remembering my mother in the basement multi-purpose room of one of the many elementary schools I attended as a child.  Remembering my grandfather's retirement party in yet another similar room.

Me, having just come in from a foggy wet morning, which seemed like a perfect cap to a generally glorious holiday weekend, which capped the end of a particularly furious bout of May gardening.  (Because it was not only the season in general, but because this year's weather was unusually conducive to tilling and turning and dividing and seeding.)  Having looked around, and thought about things I have planted in other locations...trees to honor dead relatives, plants in tribute to local geography, plants that were pass alongs from grandparents or rescued from construction or just something I thought I might like.  Plants my children chose and were responsible for.  Having had deep thoughts about shallow roots.

Me, listening to a mother say "I hope they feel this is important.  I mean, I know we do, but do they?"  

Me, watching my child not be able to eat his food.

June enters this year as it always does.  On the 1st.  Following the 31st of May.  30 days hath September, April, June, and November...  With weather that has been unusual and/or capricious but is starting to settle into the summer pattern, whatever that pattern will be this year.  With a school year finally winding down, and now winding down so rapidly that you almost want to put on the brakes and freeze time.  For just a moment.  So that you can watch, really watch, watch while seeing all the layers.  Because you were too frazzled, too worried about getting it all done, too many times thinking just push through and this [insert momentary difficulty] will be over.  And now it is.  It is all over, spring with its deathlife cycle so painfully visible and things so densely packed at the end of the school calendar and the need to get everything done NOW because it needs to get started so it can grow in its season.

It is over.  Summer has begun.  Again.  And I feel the layers, before and to come.  In a moment, centuries of June.

Nothing profound to wear for such a time.  It was get the shower done, make the lunches, pick something you can wear and feel good about but is appropriately casual for early morning breakfast and won't embarrass the child and won't be too hot when it has been so hot and sticky but maybe there'll be air conditioning inside, pick a scent that is equally not too much for early morning but helps you face the day and smell good all at once. 

Easy peasy.  Infusion d'iris.  There are other scents that would be more thoughtful, more edgy, more exclusive.  But this one, slightly cooling, smells good, considerate to others...yet stands up to scrutiny if the observer knows what they are about...is probably a very good choice.

I am writing outside.  Overhead, a small plane flies in a northeasterly direction.  Going somewhere.  My older child wants a pilot's license.  Is waiting for a driver's license.  Wants to be gone.  I need to let him, but can I freeze this moment?  Just for a short time, so that I can breathe, and feel the years, before he goes off and constructs his own?  Without him knowing, so that he knows I trust him to go and do what he needs to do, to build his own centuries of Junes...but still, cheating, and grabbing just a little more before he is gone?

So painfully beautiful, the opening to my birth month.  In this growing climate, it has always been the marker you held your breath until.  Never fully safe until now, the plants...or, at least, never as safe as it is going to get until now.  Never okay to start getting excited about summer until now.  Never reasonable to start to look for signs of summer, until now.  

Now is here.  

I am trying to breathe, deeply, which is as close as I'll ever get to slowing down time.

It is beautiful.  And I am glad to be able to see it happen.  Again.

Centuries of June.


La Bonne Vivante said...

how beautiful. You capture the lovely heartache of beginnings and endings and the palimpsests of time so perfectly. Thank you for this treasure, and for reminding me, too, to breathe.

Yours, LBV

ScentScelf said...

BV, you are of course welcome.

Palimpsests are one of my favorite objects, and the word itself is one I am awfully fond of. The idea of more treasure found beneath the surface...ah, but now you have given me the gift of a little daydream.