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               I

At the dawn of a June day,

The dark of the summer night

Blends with a pale glow in the east and

Lightens the cool dawn

into warm luminous morning.

The beams of the rising sun

reflect drops of dew

Into a million splinters of light

Into the bluing cosmos.

The warming sun

Transforms the night’s moist air

Into fragrant vapor

Which it pulls upward

Into hazy clouds

That form in the clear blue summer sky.

In the moist, sweet-smelling loam,

Myriads of hungry tiny crawly creatures

From bacteria to insects

Mill around munching

Fallen twigs and leaves

Into fertile soft soil

That nourishes the ancient cycle

Of Earth’s flora and fauna.

               II

As the sun slowly arcs westward

The heat of a warm June day

Begins to settle in,

Radiating from our steadfast star

Into the warming soil,

Spawning morning breezes

That swirl through lush green foliage

Into the tree tops

Where birds sing their polyphonic songs

While their innate wisdom,

Acquired through millennia

Of natural selection,

Guides them in the creation

Of soft feathery nests

That are by now home

To wide-open mouths peeping their need

For wiggling wads of protein

Brought on the wing

By parents Instinctively attentive

To the need to protect and carry on

The evolution of their kind.

Beneath the trees,

Furry chipmunks, slithy snakes,

And sleek insectivorous lizards scurry

From one covert place to another

In their hunt-and-be-hunted quest

For every edible encounter.

               III

In the heat of the afternoon,

When life takes on

A steam-bath listlessness,

There is fast activity above the trees

In the blue troposphere.

The sun draws up from the heating Earth

Molecules of moisture

That cool as they rise above the warm Earth

And cling together into tiny droplets.

Then swirls of wind form them

Into sundry shaped clouds

That are carried by the high breezes

Across the path of the sunlight,

Floating and billowing

In and around each other,

Caught in the weightlessness

Between the pull of the sun and Earth.

Some of the vaporous configurations

Form high whispy cirrus ice clouds

That can foretell the coming of

Thunderous cumulonimbus behemoths

Whose whirling gyrations of

Positively and negatively charged molecules

Generate powerful static electrical forces

Until the ethereal clouds

Become vaporous electrodes

That discharge innumerable

Billions of charged particles

with the power of millions of volts

Cloud to cloud or cloud to ground,

Vaporizing everything in their path

with swords of heat so fast and strong

They split the molecules of air

They travel through causing a

Thunderous sonic shock wave,

An ominous sound that reminds us

That it is not mere humans,

But the unstoppable forces of nature

That control planet Earth.

Molecules of water

That form the fluffy clouds,

Condensate into ever heavier droplets

That, as the hours pass,

Outgrow the evaporation

Pull of the sun

And fall to Earth

As warm summer rain,

Swelling the leaves of trees and grass

With essential liquid life

While also making pools for mosquitos

That pester people

But provide delicious meals

For nimble flyers such as

Dragonflies, chickadees, and tree swallows.

When the rain clouds have passed,

I breathe in deeply.

The fragrance of the fresh-wet Earth

Calms my tingling nerves

And my sweaty mind.

I am renewed by nature’s nourishment.

               IV

The air at gloaming

With its soft golden hue,

Is perfumed by fragrant fumes

Rising off blooming flowers.

The clouds hovering at the late afternoon

Western horizon

Turn bright hues

Of orange, yellow, purple, and blue

As Earth turns us away from the sun.

The slanting sunlight at dusk

Creates one of nature’s

Most colorful displays of beauty

Which, it is our good fortune,

To be wise enough

And perceptive enough

To ponder and appreciate

As the day slowly languishes

On its way into night.

               V

At first only bright Venus comes into view

Filling the void left by the setting sun

As our Earth turns us ever eastward.

Then as darkness deepens,

The star light, star bright

That we wished upon as a child

Is joined by other points of light

Until a heavenly host of patterns emerge,

Patterns that our long-ago ancestors

In their stargazing astrology

Anthropomorphized and venerated

As having divine power.

               VI

Now our astronomy and our physics

Teaches us about the stars and planets

And about our Earth and about ourselves,

And how the elements

We are made of

Are created from the

Fusion of hydrogen atoms

In the hot crucibles

At the centers of stars.

Now we understand

Why in Earth’s northern hemisphere

 There is a summer month of June

That happens due to a 23.5-degree tilt

Of Earth’s vertical axis

Caused by a massive collision

With another planet

Four and a half billion years ago,

Long before life could comprehend

What hit it

Or suffer from its destruction.

               VII

June is pedagogical.

Its beauty makes us wiser.

Because we have June’s beauty

Unconditionally,

It teaches us to love unconditionally

And find the beauty in each other.

June makes us aware that

The sublime beauty of our Earth,

The sublime beauty of life

Is for all of us to share

And for all of us to enjoy,

Whoever we are,

Wherever we are.

No one owns or controls this beauty,

No one can say it is mine and not yours.

All of us in all places,

Evolved with rain and sunsets

And plants and animals.

They all made us who we are,

And we are part of them.

This harmony we see around us

Teaches us that

Just as the innumerable elements of nature

Harmonize to create beauty

That excites our senses,

People working together in harmony

With nature and with each other

Brings out the best of who we are

As cooperative humans

In mutually beneficial relationships.

               VIII

In my sojourn through a summer day

I often turn my face toward the sun

And embrace its life-giving warmth and light

With an intuitive approbation

Of the love of being alive

That I share with all things

That fly, run, scamper, crawl,

Or wave in the warm June breeze.

June reminds each of us,

That as we journey through

Our time of human consciousness,

To be aware of

How fortunate we are

To be here, now, on this

Fertile, fecund, and beautiful planet Earth,

To have other humans to love

And work with,

And care about.

Ted McCormack

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