It's an old English round, according to Wikipedia, and means "Summer has arrived," basically -- "loudly sing, cuckoo."
And summer indeed has arrived this weekend. Oh we flirted with 100 degrees a couple of weeks ago, but the temperatures quickly slid back down to the 80s and low 90s -- very uncharacteristic for these parts at this time of year. We've had a fabulous June, with warmish days and cool nights, and some occasional unusual humidity, but there's not doubt that we're into summer now.
The solstice was last Monday -- the longest day of the year, which is greeted in Scandinavian countries with long holidays, bits of greenery decorating everything, Maypoles dotting the countryside, and long, long days of sun.
It gives me some comfort to know, when it's sweltering outside and the electric meter is spinning dollars every moment, that we're on the downward slide now to winter -- the long days where it really isn't dark until 9:30 or later are slowly, minute by minute, decreasing. And in six months it will again be the shortest day of the year.
The north winds have helped things heat up, too, and one of our regional blogs explains why. Unfortunately, the north wind also dries things out and increases fire danger -- the downside to summer in these parts.
My tomatoes have little green orbs that will ripen nicely in the heat, and blossoms dot both cucumber and zucchini vines. I'm hoping aphids stay far away this year -- so far, so good.
And we're not stuck with endless days of heat for now, anyway. Temps will dip into the low 90s-high 80s mid-week, and then start climbing back to normal for the July 4th weekend. That's a nice respite and one I could live with this summer, although I'm still expecting the thermometer to get stuck somewhere in the 108-115 range for weeks on end later this summer -- retribution for the nice wet winter we were blessed with.
I'm trying to think cool meals: salads, grilled meats and fresh veggies and fruit. My sweet tooth gets fed every so often with ice cream, though, when I go out for lunch with girlfriends at the Tremont Cafe downtown. I usually have a salad, water with lemon, and a scoop of either Java Mashup or Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk. Nothing low sugar or low fat about either. As long as I don't have that stuff in the house, I'm okay. Once in a while is not going to hurt much.
The days will pass quickly -- this much I know. Time goes more quickly with each year, and I notice a little more gray in my hair, a few new wrinkles in my skin, a hesitation in my step where there used to be none. I am grateful for each day, for the love I have in my life, for friends near and far, and for possibilities, because it's never too late for change and growth. And I try to be very intentional about gratitude, even for small things -- like watching the hummers sip their breakfast while we eat ours every day. Waking up to a cool bedroom and a snuggly cat. Enjoying the shower streams cleansing hair and body. Tasting the first cup of hot coffee made for me by my honey.
Much as I don't like hot weather, I'm grateful for the change of seasons and the abundant growth and promise of harvest that summer brings. "Lhude sing cuccu!"