The mosquitoes clog my view of the evening sky as I wade through buzzing clouds to get to my back door. I keep my eyes shut and mouth closed to avoid swallowing or blinking them in. A few days later, just when the infestation seems unmanageable, we step into our backyard and hordes of dragonflies lift off. Again, I can barely walk the length of our yard without being pelted by bugs, but this time I don’t mind. In an apocalyptic surge, the dragonflies are consuming mosquitoes by the thousands.
Even though this cycle of carnage happens every year I’m always surprised by it. I also know it’ll continue throughout the summer: as the dragonflies get fat and clean up the mosquitoes we’ll see less and less of the dragonflies, until finally, the mosquito population rebounds and reaches a biological tipping point. Then, once again, the dragonflies will swoop in to maintain the balance. Usually two minutes before we go insane, clawing at our bitten bodies.
It’s amazing, and comforting, that things like this repeat themselves every year. It’s the same with the wild daisies that bloom on my birthday, the spruce trees blushing with their new green tips, or the ice-covered lakes melting into huge swimming pools.
No matter how much I anticipate these seasonal markers, they always knock me off my feet. I guess our winters are long enough that summer can trick us into thinking she’ll never come. But when she finally does, it’s fast and furious–and makes me want to throw my head back and whoop, like a one-year old playing peek-a-boo. Just as the baby cackles in delight when his parents reappear, I’m astonished and grateful when our hemisphere tilts towards the sun’s warmth once again.
…Which brings me to a quote I’d been searching for for years, until I saw it on Lisa’s blog last week:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
-GK Chesterton in Orthodoxy
Have a wonderful summer solstice this weekend!
Wishing you all big appetites for beauty… and monotony,
Ps. I feel I didn’t get enough in about the spruce tips…Did you know they’re one of the easiest things to forage? That they’re good for soothing sore throats and colds? That they’re analgesic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial? That the tips can be dried and saved for yummy winter teas. or made into skin cremes and salves?… Okay, now I feel better.