Though my area continues to be plagued with times of rain and clouds, the times of sun and clear skies along with very warm temperatures have allowed the day lilies to bloom. The bright flowers can be found along the roadways, in yards, and in landscape beds for miles around. Colors ranging from yellow to orange and even deep red add bright spots to the surrounding landscape. One section along my running and biking route has day lilies growing on both sides of the road. Seeing their orange blooms is always a sure sign summer has arrived in my area.
Summer arrived June 21 with a majestic sunrise. Standing on the back porch of my house, I watched the deep red glow emerge between the trees and the clouds in the distance at 5:50 AM. The reflection of the light off of the clouds was amazingly beautiful. The light caught every ripple of the growing cloud cover, making the sight appear textured as if I could reach out and touch it.
What better way to start the longest day of the year than with a beautiful sunrise?
Colors Everywhere Without a Care
Seeing the lilies come into bloom reminds me of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where he talks about worry and being anxious:
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. –Matthew 6:28-29
Looking at the lilies, they appear to not have a care in the world, simply opening when the sun rises and closing when sun sets. They don’t complain in between, but seem to smile with their bell-shaped outward curved flowers, revealing the delicate pistil and surrounding stamens within.
Science Lessons Galore
Peering into the flowers, I am reminded of many science classes spent identifying the parts of a flower, learning the role each part plays in the flower’s existence, and marveling at the details behind the beauty.
The stalk of a flower is called the peduncle. The receptacle is the part of the flower stalk that meets the petals. The sepal is the part that houses the bloom, and is often leafy or fringed. Petals are the colored part of the flower. The pollen producing part of a flower is called the stamen. The stamen is made up of the anther, which is where the pollen is produced, and the filament, which is a tender stalk supporting the anther.
The pistil is the female part of the flower, made up of the ovary, ovule, style, and stigma. The ovary supports the style, which is topped by the stigma. A mature ovary is called a fruit, and a mature ovule is considered a seed. The pollen germinates in the stigma, and often appears as a powdery residue.
Other Blooms and Fruits
In addition to the day lilies, the elderberry bushes are now in bloom. The delicate flowers grace the tops of the bushes and sway in the breeze creating a lace-like wave. Elderberries typically grow in wet, marshy areas, and we have a few spots in our fields where the bushes are abundant. The bushes we have grow wild, and are not cultivated or planted.
In the coming weeks, the blooms will turn into small green berries. The sun will turn the berries deep purple. Peak ripening typically occurs in August, however, there have been times when the fruit ripened as early as mid-July.
Since childhood, my sister and I have helped in the making of elderberry jelly. The hardest part is taking the tiny berries off the stems. We typically wear rubber gloves to prevent our hands from being stained purple by the juice from the berries. Once the berries are collected, they are cooked and strained through cheese cloth. The smell of the cooking berries sends a sweet aroma throughout the house. Once the juice is collected, it is mixed with pectin and cooked until achieving a full rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down). Sugar is then quickly stirred into the hot liquid, and the mixture is once again heated to boiling. Upon boiling, the mixture is stirred continuously for one minute. The mixture is then placed in jars that have been given a hot water bath. Screw top lids and seals are placed on the jars to allow the jelly to be preserved.
In addition to elderberries, we have strawberries, blue berries, red raspberries, and wild black raspberries ripening in the gardens and around the fields. We use the fruit for eating and for making jam. This year, it appears the crop will be a good one with so many berries ripening in a short time span.
The smell of freshly-picked berries instantly sends a summer message to my soul. Another smell that takes me immediately to summer memories is that of fresh cut hay. My neighbor cut the surrounding fields for hay the other day, and the sweet, intoxicating aroma of the grass in the fields could be smelled for miles along my biking route. The scent wafted in the open windows of the house as well, bringing a freshness to the rooms.
There is nothing like lying down at night and drifting off to dream with the fresh aroma surrounding a body tired from summer activities. Doing so reminds me of to be thankful for God’s many blessings, and calls to mind a favorite psalm:
“Bless the Lord, oh my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits; He pardons all your iniquities. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion, he fills your lifetime with good; your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” – Psalm 103:1-5
May the rising sun and blooming flowers bring a sense of peace to the soul. May the sights, sounds, and smells around us remind us of God’s many blessings and summer’s beauty as we make our way upon the journey.
Red sun all aglow
Shaking its head to show
Its’ light to the world around
Without the slightest bit of sound,
Embracing the day with arm outstretched
Through God’s grace and blessings sent
Offering time to share and see
All the sights of summer’s beauty.
Day lilies in the fields
Smile and wave to reveal
Their zest for life all around
In yellow, orange, and red resounds
Echoing their joy in nature’s song
To enjoin the heart upon
A ride within the journey
Through all the sights of summer’s beauty.
Freshly cut hay and honey suckle vines
Offer aromas so sweet and fine
As the breeze blows and the trees sway
Over the earth below at midday
While the clouds drift in the sky
Dancing with the spirits in waltzing time
In the rise and fall of the music so soothing
Offered in all the sights of summer’s beauty.
Soak it up, drink it in,
Thank the heavens above for the blessings within
All the sights of summer’s beauty
Sent from the Father in the sky as a gift to thee.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Matthew 6:28-29 – http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-28.htm
Psalm 103:1-5 – http://biblehub.com/isv/psalms/103.htm