I do not love July, but I appreciate its drama.
We wake to fog and air so wet and dense I wonder if I could squeeze it, perhaps ring it out like an old bath towel.
The afternoons reverberate with thunder, but we’ve become so accustomed to it we no longer hear it. It has become like the airplane overhead or the garbage truck lumbering down the road. When we open the back door and find rain streaming down in sheets and splatters, we are shocked.
When did it start to rain? we ask one another.
I do not love July because July brings humidity and mosquitoes, but the lilies in the flower garden are sweet compensation. The heavy air is also heavy with perfume.
A friend comes to visit for the Fourth of July and says, “You have a lily forest. I think I’ll go for a walk in your lily forest.”
I appreciate the lilies from a standing position, but when I sink down into a garden chair, I find myself enveloped by them. They nod their heads far above my own head. It is a lily forest.
In January, the air is thin and dry and my head is clear for thinking spiritual thoughts. I mediate every morning on some classic devotional book. I say prayers. I read Scripture.In July, the air is thick, and my pocket-sized Book of Common Prayer falls from my hands unread. I cannot think thoughts in July. July is for scratching too many mosquito bites, feeling the throb of my hip where I fell in the garden leaning too far knocking Japanese beetles into a jar of soapy water.
In July, my head is filled with the scent of lilies, my heart with the still-fresh beauty of the ‘Lady of Shalott’ roses, my stomach with vegetables from a local farm and bread by the friend who admires my lily forest. Breakfast rolls into lunch, while we go on spreading fresh black-raspberry jam over butter over bread. I think my fingers might still be slightly purple from picking those berries a week ago.
If religion is our bond with God, if it is the path between us or the space where we relate, then in summer the whole world becomes sacred (though perhaps it always was?).
We Christians eat the Bread of Life every Sunday, but this summer I am also eating it from breakfast to lunch, spread with black raspberry jam.
And the bond between God and ourselves is vivid, multi-colored, and splashed across the sky after every storm.