Advent of Summer The living age, Volume 229 By Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell


Advent of Summer
The living age, Volume 229
By Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

In the bright warm hours the smell of summer ascends from the grass. You cannot describe it except as the scent of rising sap. Break off a reed spike or a branching fern, and you will recognize this more readily. Not only to the eye comes the greeting of summer. The melodious flowing of the wind past the quivering ...tree-tops overhead, and in an undertone among the moving leaves of the lower branches is the first sign of its presence. When you climb the stile and stand knee-deep in the bracken, the perfume of the sap confirms the assurance of the breeze.

But if a third sign were wanting, the songs of the chaffinches, warblers and wrens, following each other without interruption, would more than suffice.
In the clear atmosphere everything is intensely bright or deeply shadowed. Light green beech-plumes, sparkling where the sunbeams glance, hang down over the dark masses of the background—almost too startling a contrast for the eye, so accustomed to gray days or a blending, rose-tinged mist , No summer day is without its own especial charm. By noon the shadows are foreshortened, and the canvas is taken indoors, else the sketch must be rearranged with the altered position of the sun. The painter comes again at a suitable hour next morning. The shadows are of the exact length, the sun flecks dance among the leaves, but the atmosphere is not the same, the colors are different, and the effects he had sought to grasp had slipped forever beyond his reach. The same swallows come to the barn year by year; the same warblers to the copse. The same angle marks the image on the dial; the same honied fragrance floats across the dewy path. But something is inevitably different; one chord or other has ceased to vibrate, and a varying note is heard in the symphony of summer.

In the early morning the presence of summer is most wonderfully felt and seen. The busy city toiler—whose only day of rest is the seventh, and whose chief delight on that day is to rest in bed till noon—seldom realizes the meaning of summer. When he reaches the woodlands, the fragrance has already gone from the warm south wind—dropped through it, scattered deep in the grass, or carried away into the dwellings of the bees. The reed clump's sap, ascending into the air, breaks forth on the breath of summer. But the richest scents are exhaled when a myriad flowers unfold to the morning, each throwing open its painted doors that butterflies and bees may partake of the honey which, throughout the night, was being prepared for them within the nectary. The wind passes by, fanning insect wings cause a fine dust to stir within the blossoms, and the pollen grains are swept away to mingle with the wine cup of the bee.