Each day in my garden journal, I record the times of sunrise and sunset, and I calculate the length of the day. Today the sun rose at six o’clock and will set fourteen hours and forty-two minutes later, at 8:42 in the evening.
These long days were the days I dreamed of in January, when the sun showed its face for fewer than ten hours. In my journal entries, as I drew pictures of snowflakes or ice-encrusted twigs, I watched the days lengthen by a minute here, two minutes there. In February, sometimes the day lengthened by four minutes, all in one go!
In years past, once spring began, I was impatient for summer. I felt it would never arrive. The little sprouts of green in March excited me when they first appeared, but they weren’t enough. I wanted the full floral bloom of July. I wanted petals and blossoms and flower spikes. I wanted blazing stars, daisies, mikweeds, zinnias. I wanted heat and butterflies. I wanted it to be June in April.
This year, I want it all to slow down. I think my journal has helped me pay attention to all the beautiful things that come before the butterflies – by drawing something new each day, I find something to appreciate that I might have passed over before – and I’m always grateful for more beauty in my life. It’s helping me see what I didn’t see before in March, April, and May. But as June marches toward the Summer Solstice, I already mourn that the time of sunlight will start shrinking again after that longest day. It’s happening too fast.
I keep reminding myself, the flowers and the garden and the butterflies and the hummingbirds will be here through September for sure, maybe even October. The garden is in beautiful bloom right now. The rose bushes are more red than green, they are so covered in blossoms. Yarrow spreads swaths of lemony yellow flowers across the beds. Blanket flowers blaze orange like little sun disks near the ground. Spikes of lavender flowers sway in the breeze.
And these aren’t even the flowers I’ve planted for the butterflies. I’ve got dozens of perennials that haven’t bloomed yet. And the zinnias barely have their leaves. The days will still be long, even if they’re not still increasing in length. I’ve got time. I’ve got time to savor it.