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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Honey-sweet July

It's been a while since I shared an essay by my favorite American naturalist writer, Hal Borland.
Here's an ode to early July that spoke to me this morning. I hope you enjoy it!


July 2nd and 3rd

Honey-Sweet July

"You can smell the season now, a special sweetness that marks the mists of dawn and the cool of dusk and is even there in the heat of a July afternoon. If it has a reminder of honey, that is no illusion, for it is the fragrance of clover and milkweed in bloom; and the essence of both is being stowed in the waxen comb. You smell it now on the summer air. You will taste it next winter on the breakfast plate.
...
The clovers are both wild and tame and range from the small white clover of suburban lawns to the big red clover of the hayfield and the tall sweet clover, both with and yellow, of the rural roadside. All are sweet of blossom. But clover fragrance makes no demands. It is a presence in the air, a gentle sweetness faintly spiced.
Milkweed, however, cannot be ignored. Its fragrance is like the essence of honeysuckle added to the heavy scent of the tuberose. It is almost too sweet, too insistent. Come on a patch of milkweed in full flower and you first wonder what careless performer had been at work. The warm summer air becomes almost heavy with milkweed aroma. Few other blossoms, wild or tame, are so full of such fragrance, and few flowers bloom more generously in July.
So you walk the roads and fields. The bees hum. The hot air shimmers. Grass heads ripen. Summer possesses the land. And you can smell July, honey-sweet, on every breath of air.


Hal Borland
"Twelve Moons of the Year"
July 1966






10 comments:

  1. What amazing colourful worms; who said stripes make you look fat?!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. And those caterpillars are destined to become butterflies! Have a great day!

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  2. There's only one prevailing smell in the countryside here in early July, and that is Chestnut flowers. It dominates!

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    1. I've never seen or smelled chestnut flowers, but I'm sure they're lovely!

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  3. I understand very much his you can smell July.
    The monsoons here have their own special smell.
    Love the Caterpillars, they have the colors of where I live, lime green and sky blue, beautiful

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. I'm sure your home has wonderful smells unique to the Southwest!

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  4. Right now, and even more so over the past 3 weeks or so, my neighbourhood is wonderfully scented, but not of the plants mentioned in the beautiful essay. The hedgerows and gardens smell of privet and roses, and every now and then, I catch some lavender. It's wonderful, and I inhale deeply every time I come past certain gardens where I know they have a particularly good batch of roses and other scented flowers growing.
    Also, I LOVE the scent of freshly cut grass. That is the essence of summer for me!

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    1. Freshly cut grass is a wonderful smell! And who doesn't love roses? :)

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  5. Chestnut flowers and honeysuckle were the 'flavours' today while I was cycling. I love how all the seasons have a different scent.

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  6. Made me think of Keats and ode to Autumn.

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