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One Evening in June

Sunday, June 3, 2018

 Riches. That's the theme as spring turns into summer. My girl is home. My boy is home. They're both here with me, for the summer, though summer will be so very brief; Liam leaves for W. VA University (pronounced Dub VeeYew) on August 11. I'm conscious of treasuring every moment with them both home, for what will likely be the last summer. I don't need anything else, but June...oh June. She keeps throwing things at my feet, draping beauty around my shoulders. I can't begin to take it all in, but oh, I try.

While bending very, very low to try to catch the fragrance of my Firecrest water lily, my flubberroll pushed my trusty faithful iPhone 6 out of the stretchy little Bandi waist pouch I wear around all summer long. It usually keeps my phone and Flipnotes metal notebook safer and more accessible than they'd be in my pockets, but this time there was a wardrobe malfunction. I heard a Ploop! and swiped my hand into the water, catching the phone as it was settling gently on the bottom. Instinctively, I sucked water out of all the ports, raced inside saying, "Phone in pond. Phone in pond. Get rice!" Phoebe leapt into action and we interred the phone in rice for 36 hours. I tried to leave it alone, in state. It was hard. After 24 hours, I fired it up and it seemed OK, then went black. Back into the rice, which helps desiccate soaked electronics.

There ensued a couple of days that, if I'm honest, were entirely devoted to replacing the phone. A 40-minute drive  with Bill, the account holder, to Parkersburg to the ATT store, where I decided to make an insurance claim rather than upgrade. I loved my 6. I didn't need a 7, 8, or a 10. It would be replaced with a 6, and that was fine with me. Waiting for the new phone, I realized what a part of my life it is, and mostly for the camera. I missed it terribly. When a new one arrived, I spent most of a day transferring content from the old one to the new one, and doing all the sweat-inducing password and sign-in gyrations that accompany firing up a new phone. First world problems, all of them. Nothing more than an inconvenience, and a reckoning of just how much having this magic camera/lifeline/access to a world of knowledge means to me. It was a good way to back up (literally and figuratively) and take a look at what's important to me. And what's important to me is staying in touch with my family and friends, and making images.

So when I finally got the new phone up and running, I got myself up and running for an evening light photosafari. I love running in the morning; I feel a bit logy by evening, probably because I work and garden so hard all day that exercising then seems beside the point. But the light and the allure of photography got me out.

This is the child of the great red oak who used to grace our mailbox. I love to see it thrive and grow. I love to think of a time when I'll remember when it was just a sapling. I wish I could live long enough to see it get huge, to see it throw shade on the mailbox. I want to sit under it and read the paper.


You can't really see them unless you click on this photo, but there's a bluebird on the wire, and the white breast of a redtail shining in the dead tree just beyond. And let's look at those thunderheads. Oh, Summer.


I'd been looking for the prints of the first fawn of summer, and this time I found them. So tiny it must be, the size of a cocker spaniel, tottering around after Mama on fingertip-sized hooves.  Ah, June.

The field daisies are out full, finishing up, even. They always surprise me, blooming earlier every year.

Pair them with evening light and you have a poem. I don't care that they came here from Europe. So did we. They're a heavenly host and I love them without reserve.

 As you might imagine, I was feeling quite satisfied with the camera on my new iPhone 6. I'm not sure how, but it manages to be even better than the one I tried twice to drown. (I left it out overnight in a thunderstorm once, in the bottom of a laundry basket. That time I dried it out and it was fine.)

A 15-foot tall Honeysuckle Tower of Flower Power. You simply cannot imagine the scent that comes from a cluster of Japanese honeysuckle like that. It is overpowering, and in those concentrations, it takes on a soapy powder-room overtone that actually makes me reel. This Asian import I do not love, but it has its charms. The ruby-throated hummingbirds will have nothing to do with my feeders while this riot is going on, and it's a blessing for the little hens, who have no trouble getting a headily scented meal of nectar while busy feeding their young.

The milkweed is locked, loaded and ready to fire in about a week.

I have seen some good years for Penstemon digitalis or Foxglove penstemon, a gorgeous native member of the Scrophulariaceae. But this year takes the absolute cake. Lots and lots of rain, and somewhat cooler temperatures must be just what it needs to reach its best.

My road is lined with foxglove penstemon. Another hummingbird bounty.

Evening light just makes it glow.

The light in the little churchyard was ravishing. That obelisk in the center marks the grave of Nancy Love, and the verse on it goes:

She has gone to the realms of the blest
Where sorrow can reach her never
She has passed through the gates of her rest
She is lost to our dim eyes forever.

Rain Crows fans will recognize these lines. 

But the best surprise was yet to come. I've been given permission to trot around on a large piece of land where someone is building a large castle. On my first visit, I was delighted to find a grove of young persimmons, growing up around a mother-tree, topping a grassy hilltop.  That was several years ago. Since then, I've been back many times. I made a point to speak with the landowner and let him know what a treasure he had in that grove. I told him the trees would make bushels of sweet fruit come fall; that they were well worth keeping around. He was all over that; he likes the idea of living off the land. And though he's done a lot of cutting and clearing there, to date he's kept his promise to save the persimmons from destruction. I feel proud of that. It's conservation on a grassroots, landowner by landowner level. Every time I visit, I look at the little grove and smile, thinking that, but for that one conversation, those trees would likely have gone unrecognized for the treasure they are. There is so much work to do.

 This June evening, I walked up as usual, and everything was different. I heard the bees humming as I approached. Hundreds, thousands of bees. The trees were in bloom! PERSIMMON FLOWERS!! Where I could reach them!!

It may sound odd, but I have wanted to see persimmon flowers all my durn life. I have looked for them and have never seen them. Mostly, that's because a persimmon grows to be a very tall tree, and there's no way, even with binoculars, I'd be able to make out its tiny flowers if they were 50' over my head. But these trees were small enough to have some branches at eye level to me. Eureka!! I waded through blackberry and poison ivy to get some photos and revel in the discovery.

Tiny, four-petaled chalices of sweetness they were. You'll notice the black spots on them and all over the leaves. That turns out to be a fungus called anthracnose, and I've never seen a persimmon that didn't have it. It must not compromise them much, and for that I'm grateful.

Though small white flowers are often very fragrant, these were very lightly scented. There was a barely discernible sweet, olivey scent. 

One of my favorite botany gurus, who goes by The Buckeye Botanist on Instagram, commented, "Let me just say that I've admittedly never gotten this close to fresh persimmon flowers like this before either. You got me beat!"

 Life goals!!--to beat Andrew at anything plant-related!

As I thought about it, I realized this might be the first time these trees had ever bloomed. I'm sure I'd have noticed it in past springs. I felt honored, like I was present at their debut, their coming of age party. To some, it might seem like such a small thing, but it made my day.

I stepped back and looked at the grove, and realized I could capture the whole story in one photo. The bulldozer, the persimmons, and far back, the castle under construction.

There they were, with the bulldozer that might have taken them down, had I not had the nerve to say something. To try to save a little something special in this bulldozed, built-up, scraped-flat world. 

I'll be back in November, looking for the sweet, squashy, sticky orange fruits. Maybe some will hang low enough for me to photograph and pick them--another first! I'm used to fighting the 'possums and coons for wind-dropped fruit, used to finding nothing but the licked-clean pedicels under the towering trees on our place. It'll be sweet, another one of those full-circle moments that happen when you're in the same place and watching and caring the whole time.

Oh, June. Your light, your skies, your flowers. It's all too much, and just exactly what I need.


Years ago we lived for a time with a persimmon tree in our front yard. This was before air conditioning was a necessity and our house was cooled by a large ceiling fan. Every night when the persimmons ripened, we knew exactly when the skunk family arrived. I sometimes think we have lost more than we gained when air conditioning became the norm---not just the skunks but sitting out at night on the porch, neighbors passing by, but then it gets to be 105 here in July!
When the skunks arrived, I had to be sure the dog and Linda stayed in the house.

Have a huge Persimmon in front yard. Have to get out binos/ Bucks love fruit in winter. One year I would race outside to pick up fruit before deer. Made cookies. So small & seedy/ not worth the effort!! Also got my iPhone 6 wet in pet bowl( think cat did it!). All came back BUT front camera/ got good @ backward “selfies” but no telephoto so I gave up & used ins for another 6!, great lens!

Your flubberroll! SNORT. ;-)

Now I'm going to have to have a closer look at the local persimmon trees...

...coming of age party. I like that.

Oh, Julie. YOUR light, YOUR skies, YOUR flowers. It's all too much, and just exactly what I need.
We need. Thank you. ❤️

I am so glad you shared your June day with all of us - we have Texas Persimmons here, they are a shrub-tree so the flowers are right in front of us, love them. The golden-fronted woodpeckers feed their nestlings so much persimmon fruit that their box is an inch or more deep in seeds. On with June! Your posts cool us off.

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