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Posts Tagged ‘june’

There’s no better place to enjoy Midsummer than along the shoreline.  With the sounds of stones rolling under the wash of the waves in the background, willets forage in the waters at Silver Sands Beach.  Once a beautiful sand beach, the shore is now mostly stones.  Sand was trucked away decades ago to make cement for buildings and a runway, under the premise that the sands would return with the waves.  They never did.

Beach peas grow in profusion among the stones above the strandlines.  Their purple and green are a refreshing sight among the greys of the rocks.

A green crab, dried orange by the sun, lays in a tangle of seaweed in the sand.  Eventually, the sun will turn its carcass white.

Periwinkles covered with elaborate apparel are also present in great number. 

Dried pink amphipods are washed ashore.  They too will turn lighter in the sunlight.

Though you can’t tell by the image, the stones are warm to the touch.  To me, Midsummer means feeling the warmth of the sun in a way that touches you to your core.  There’s no better place to feel this than on the beach.  What does Midsummer mean to you?

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The wayside in June is full of unexpected colors. You may walk or drive past something beautiful for several days before the sun sits upon it in a manner that catches your attention.  The bright pink chives, shown above, stand out in the sunshine as they grow in the grey gravel.  How they managed to thrive on the side of a busy road is a mystery.


Lupins are not an uncommon sight along the roadsides in Nova Scotia.  Yet every June, they bring delight to drivers and walkers alike.  Whether they’re growing on the side of a ditch or next to a trail, their pink and purple hues are a welcome sight.

One doesn’t usually expect to see roses growing in eel grass along a rocky shore.  Like life, beauty manages to find a way.

Hidden in the shade, a profusion of wild violets bloom with abandon near a forest trail.  To see so many in one spot is a wonder.

The delicate lady slippers one finds while out romping in the woods don’t bring half the joy of the single one found growing unexpectedly next to a path in one’s own yard.  Lady slippers don’t take well to being transplanted, and so will only grow where they want to grow.

In the early morning light, burgundy colored brush appears to be ablaze against the cool June greens of the marsh grass.   

Often it’s the meals that we don’t cook that give us the greatest pleasure.  Similarly, it’s the plants that we don’t grow ourselves but suddenly appear on the landscape, without any expectation on our part, that bring us the greatest delight.  In both instances, the element of surprise seems to be a key ingredient to finding enjoyment in the everyday.

Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
~ Samuel Johnson

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Perhaps it’s because there are so many foggy days in springtime in Nova Scotia that each blue sky is considered extraordinary.  We can’t take any for granted and each one is a wonder unto itself.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reflected in the water, skies here make an impression both above and below the horizon line.  Some days, the blue is mixed with grey, some days with pink.

The sky is one whole, the water another; and between those two infinities the soul of man is in loneliness.
~ Henryk Sienkiewicz

Right after taking the above photograph at dawn, I saw a young couple still in graduation dance attire drive by.   Going to the beach at dawn to see the sun rise seemed like a fitting end to an already memorable day.

We all see something different when we look at the sky, projecting onto it our feelings of either loneliness, sadness, joy or contentment.  Some of us look to the sky and dream hopeful dreams while others feel the weight of regrets and mourn past losses.   Regardless of the land-, sea- or sky-scape, nothing matters as much as our point of view.

The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.

~ Edna St.Vincent Millay

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elderberry at dawn

Do you have any plans for Saturday night?  Since it will be Midsummer’s Eve, if you’re free, you might consider standing or sitting under an elder tree.   Known as Sambucus nigra in Europe and Sambucus canadensis in North America, it’s not uncommon in Nova Scotia woods where it often only grows to bush size.  It has sprigs of white flowers in early spring that eventually give way to clusters of green and then black berries.  But why would anyone want to stand under an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve?  According to faerie lore, if one was courageous enough to be under one at midnight, one might be able to catch a glimpse of the King of the Faeries himself.

elder branchesThis special tree has been surrounded by magic and mystery for centuries.  According to legend, the original cross was made of elder wood.  In England, crosses made of elder were nailed to farm buildings to ward off evil spirits.  Hearse drivers carried whips of elder and branches of the same were placed in graves, all with the intent of protecting the living and the dead from evil spirits.  In Serbia, they were carried at weddings for the same reason.

Danish folklore held that the tree was inhabited by a guardian spirit, the Elder Mother, who haunted anyone who dared to cut it down.  Many of these beliefs seem similar to those associated with Rowan trees, which are known as Mountain Ash in North America.

A young elder grows in my yard.  This is a good omen, as it is supposed to flourish near the dwellings of happy people.  Much of the magic associated with this tree is probably due to its many medicinal uses.  It’s easier to be happy if you have good health.

The Elder in Bloom in Early Spring

An Elder in Bloom Earlier this Spring

Getting back to the King of the Faeries… you may be wondering how you’ll recognize him should you decide to venture out under the tree at midnight.  Well, unfamiliar as I am with faeries, I can only go by what little I know of elves and leprechauns from movies.  Meeting the King of the Faeries at a midnight rendez-vous in the woods might be interesting if he looked  like the elf Legolas in Lord of the Rings.  However, it might be an entirely different sort of encounter if he turned out to be more like King Brian from Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People

Legolas (Lord of the Rings) and King Brian (Darby O'Gill and the Little People)

Legolas (Lord of the Rings) and King Brian (Darby O'Gill and the Little People)

If he’s the size of one of the Little People I wonder if I’d even be able to spot him in the dark.  There won’t be much moonlight as the dark side of the moon will be in the sky tomorrow night.  Little People are known for their love of the dance and merrymaking, so listen carefully for music.

Best of luck to any of you who are keen for adventure and willing to try something completely different on Midsummer’s Eve.   Hopefully the mosquitoes won’t be too bad in your neck of the woods.

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