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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


In some kind of response to the long, cold, wet winter and the short, cold, wet spring, the flora of summer are bursting with life. I can't remember such a flowering: the lupine spread lushly on meadow and roadside; the beach roses are as big as your hand; the grass and weeds and trees are deeply green; late-blooming lilac bushes are so heavy with flowers that the branches bow to the ground; the ferns are huge and sensuous; little yellow flowers teem perfectly where they should be (buttercups) and grossly where they shouldn't (dandelions); the profusion of poppies makes me drunk just looking at them; some hostas are sprouting bushy purple flowers I've never seen before; but most of all, the rhododendron bushes are so full of pink and red that you can't see a bit of green. I'm lucky enough to see them twice in glorious bloom, for a couple of weeks in MA and now a couple of weeks in ME. Every bush is a bouquet packed for a lover.

I'd like to say we deserve it. I'd like to say that nature took pity on its conscious denizens and provided some recompense for their long-suffering. I'd like to believe there's purpose to all this fecundity. But that would be a mistake. Can you imagine a world in which humans mattered so positively? Almost as scary as the one in which we matter so negatively.

I suppose the perfect growing conditions are just a chemical reaction, the flowers' colors merely a lure for pollination. I suppose, equally, that the sharp catching of breath and the warm glow enveloping the heart and chest and the eyes so full of joy that they water are also just chemical reactions. Maybe so, but not on a fecund summer solstice day when the debauchery of flowers beggars all science.

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