Summer, she’s here, like a long awaited visit from a dear friend, she has finally come up the path to Honey Grove and through the garden gate, as beautiful as ever, more beautiful perhaps, glowing in her floral prints; a marvellous tapestry of unbelievable colour.
And we have waited a whole year for her return, dreaming of bright warm days and harvest dinners near the wood-fire oven, and bouquets of flowers on every windowsill.
But her stay, it never feels quite long enough, for her arrival coincides with our busiest time of year, and we, like our blessed bees, are buzzing about, rather non-stop.
There is little time for pause, for afternoons spent admiring the slant of the light on the boughs of the maple, not when there is a holiday cottage that needs cleaning and more ripe berries that need picking.
Not when there are beehives that need checking.
Some of them, high up in the mountains, gathering fireweed nectar.
No time for pause, when there is market bread that needs baking.
And market muffins that need making.
Not when there are gardens that need watering and garlic that needs braiding.
But every now and again, a kind of soulful sanity breaks through, and you cannot help but look up from the tasks at hand to recognize that summer has come all this way just to visit you, and that you have hardly noticed.
And hopefully, you have the good sense to pause then. To go and make a cup of tea, or to sit down in the orchard with a good book, or to lean into the trunk of a nearby fir tree and to watch the play of flickers at the edge of the wood. And in moments such as these you might enter into a conversation with Summer, and she can fold you into the tiny blossoms of her grass skirt, and you can rest their in her warmth and beauty, with the full acknowledgement that she will not be here forever. And that this, this is what summer is all about. And then suddenly, all of those things that seemed so important, well, they are much less so, and there is only the hum of bees and the sound of flicker wings moving across the blue sky.
And if you are wondering how I know this, it is because I actually paused this summer. It’s true, I did, for the first time in 5 years on Honey Grove, I paused for 5 sweet days, while my dear friend and writer Sylvia and her partner Simon, came to visit us from California. And in their splendid company, we had long lunches and endless pots of tea. We went on beach picnics and hiked in the alpine, we even spent a whole day making flower essences under the summer sun.
And in the evenings we had long country dinners around the picnic table, and we stayed there visiting until the light had completely faded and the moon had replaced the sun entirely. And one time we made pizza.
And another time we ate Katie’s blueberry/huckleberry pavlova. And goodness me, what a time we all had.
Now, Sylvia and Simon have returned to their southern home and we have found our way back into the rhythms of daily life. We have gone back to bread baking and beekeeping, to gardening and housekeeping, but there is something that lingers from those 5 sweet days, and if I were to say what that is, I might say it has something to do with presence. That is, the profound recogntion that beneath the surface of ‘doing,’ there is a territory of great and unwavering beauty, and I am quite certain that this is the territory that the wise-ones call ‘being.’
And speaking of wise ones, there is one laying in a beam of sun at this very moment, his belly to the sky, watching the birds flying over head and waiting for his afternoon walk through the quiet wood, where he can sniff tall-peed-upon-grass, and I can eat handfuls of huckleberries, alongside the black bears. And maybe, just maybe, if I continue to remember the great truth of presence, there will be an ocean swim later.
Meanwhile, just down the way, at Uncle Ken’s Farm. Cohen’s pigs are having a lovely summer too.
Now, I must be off, for there is a cottage to clean and more hives to peak in.
Bright Blessings to you, on this Summer Day,
Nao, Mark, Cohen, Katie, Gus and All at Honey Grove