Heading Toward the Summer Solstice

The sweet smell of green

We are more than half-way through June, and what a lovely June it has been so far. Enough rain to keep the plants happy, and enough sun to keep the humans happy. I just love this time of year, when night doesn’t come until 9:00, leaving plenty of time for drinks—usually iced tea—on the patio and bike rides when my husband, Clif, comes home from work.

It has become warm enough so that the windows can stay open, night and day, and the air at the little house in the big woods is so sweet, so clean. This time of year, when I am in the backyard,  I often stop just to smell the forest with its ferns and trees. It smells green, it smells like life. Too bad I can’t bottle and sell that aroma. People would be clammoring to buy it, and Clif and I would have a very comfortable retirement.

We are heading toward the summer solstice, a bittersweet time when the day is at its longest and loveliest. However, on Sunday, June 22, slowly, slowly it starts going the other way until the dark presses in at 4:00 p.m. Well, no point in thinking about that now.

Saturday, June 21 is also the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. She would have been 78, and I always think how wonderful it was for her to have a birthday on the summer solstice. (I also think of how often we had to have her birthday celebrations inside as June is often a rainy month in Maine, and our plans for a barbecue were inevitably foiled by the weather.)

This weekend is filled with summer solstice plans. On Friday, our friends Jim and Dawna are coming over for grilled bread and salads and parfaits made with homemade ice cream.

“Keep it simple,” Dawna told me, as she tells me every year. Usually, not only do I serve grilled bread and salad but also chicken and either rice or pasta to go with it.

“We don’t need that much food,” she said.

“Especially at our age,” I agreed.

So this year I am following her advice. We will be having simple appetizers—tortilla chips and a homemade dip made with salsa and sour cream and, of course, the bread and salads and dessert.

“Would you like me to bring over fixings for margaritas?” Dawna asked.

Would I ever! Dawna’s homemade margaritas are the best I’ve ever tasted. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow, and it looks as though we’ll be able to enjoy our margaritas on the patio.

On Saturday, our friend Diane invited us to a potluck, so to Brunswick we will go. I plan on bringing a pasta and spinach salad, made with Farmer Kev’s spinach. I’m also going to bring cinnamon pie knots, a favorite of Diane’s.

What a lovely way to begin summer.