The Sweetness of June

The Sweetness of June

Come June, the air hangs rich. Laced with late peony and lilac, around every corner, I inhale deep in sweet anticipation.

What smells so good?

We find ourselves tucking faces into flowers at every possible opportunity. I beckon my four-year-old to a dew-damp, hot-pink peony pom-pom, and we touch noses to petals.


peony 2

Just last weekend we visit my parents’ farm. There, we hunt honeysuckle — perhaps the sweetest of June’s scents. A single, slender, plucked blossom sets me awash in its delicate perfume. I press my thumbnail against the base of the trumpet-shaped flower, cutting off the end and pulling forth the long stamen.

I watch closely for the tiny bubble of nectar and then greedily suck it out — a tiny but powerful hit of pure sweetness. We do this again and again, because honeysuckle season comes but once a year.

I remember the time our air conditioning broke on the way home from Ohio, one hot June day some years ago. The girls and I arrived home, heads tousled and noses full of sweetness.

Then, as now, I wonder what it would be like to live senses alive — not just when the AC breaks and we’re forced to roll down the windows, but every day.


What if we could stop looking and begin seeing?
What if we could cease hearing and start listening?
What if we could give up tasting and learn savoring?

What does it take to wake our slumbering senses? Must something break to get our attention?


The sweet season only lasts a few weeks in this part of the country (that little place on the U.S. map where Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania meet).

Just about the time we begin to take the honeyed air for granted, it ends. First, the lilacs fade and then the peonies drop their petals. Next, the wild locusts finish shedding their blossoms, and the honeysuckle wanes.

We are there now; in the waning. But, this year, more than ever, I want to retain the lessons of the sweet. I want to learn what it feels like to do life with all five senses aquiver.


I want to memorize the wind chimes’ melody and feel the exact way the breeze lifts the fine, newly golden hairs on my forearms.

I want to pop a fat blueberry in my mouth and appreciate its precise phase of ripeness {tart, semi-sweet, sweet, past-prime}.

I want to pad out into the yard at midnight and look up at stars slung over lofty treetops, see their black-green leafy globes alight with fireflies.

I want to step out on my deck in the cool morning mist and recognize in my heart the intermingled feeling {part wildness, part mystery, part beauty, part possibility} that I can’t remember feeling for so many years, but welcome back as an old friend.

You see, I am feeling more each day. My breaking has done its work well — it has both slowed me down and brought me back.

And, this June, I can’t think of anything sweeter.

Mmmmm… what smells so good?


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  1. How sweet it is indeed. God has been doing a beautiful work in you, Elizabeth. Good to read your words this morning.
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