|June is busting out all over. There’s a lilac bush next to my front porch and its output of blooms is magnificent. I’d love to cut one or two and fill my house with fragrance and beauty, but ever since visiting and writing about the gentleman from Dixmont with his fabulous collection of lilacs of every color and from every country of origin, I can’t do anything but inhale the fragrance and feast my eyes. He taught me that a cut lilac will never replace itself.
When I think how many lilac bushes I’ve mutilated over the years, I want to go and apologize to the one outside my door. Ignorance is no excuse. If you really love something, the least you should do is learn as much as possible about it and act accordingly. This is a good maxim whether we’re talking about lilacs, the food on your plate, or the man or woman in your life.
Now that the rain has stopped for a little while, it’s a good time to look around at the good it did. It will help ease the misery it caused. Everything is as green as the green in Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. Driving down back roads on Saturday was a trip to savor and remember. Every blade of grass, every bush, every tree, was thick and full and glorious green.
Unfortunately, the only way to really enjoy the spectacle is from a moving vehicle. The black flies and mosquitoes do not want to share their space. After an initial encounter with black flies, years ago, I contacted the bug department at the University of Maine. I wanted to know everything they knew about avoiding the darned pest. This is what they told me.
During work in the field the scientists had left two big tanks of carbon dioxide in the back of their truck. When they checked on them later, they found them covered with thousands of black flies. After a series of experiments they found that the flies were attracted to the stuff, and they concluded that if you were outside and breathing heavily you were a target. So, they said, if you’re outside try to breathe lightly through your nose and don’t talk too much. For me, the breathing was fairly easy, the silence almost impossible.
I was also told that loud noise upset the flies, which is what makes mowing your lawn risky business. The black fly gets manic just before and during a thunderstorm, so get indoors fast at the first rumble. All this, plus the fact that after experimenting with colors, they found the fly will attack red clothing, it’s best so forget your Red Sox shirt for a while.
The only definite thing about mosquitoes, after all the well known stuff, like empty everything that holds water for a long time, like old tire wells, is the mosquito’s apparent hatred of clothing colored green, which is bad news for a lot of soldiers and forest rangers. Add into the mix the West Nile virus and doing your best to keep the miserable things from biting you, your children and pets is a big must this summer.
Bugs aside, June is a glorious month. It’s traditionally a time for endings graduations and all sorts of beginnings like marriage. There is probably some sort of ancient reason for June weddings. Something to do with the Romans, I’ll bet. June is also the time when women start thinking about bathing suits, what size they’d like to fit into and what size they’ll have to fit into. Again, a big dilemma. It’s a perfect time to start on a diet of salads and light drinks, but it’s also the perfect time for a big barbecued hamburger in one hand and an ice cold beer or a milkshake in the other.
Let’s all enjoy good old June. Smell the lilacs and the roses. Plaster yourself with sun block and bug spray, (I understand there’s now a product that combines the two), go to parties and places and have fun. Just don’t wear anything red or green, and try not to laugh too loudly or with your mouth open.