The beginning of June is when the bumpy season of spring starts to hit her stride–the green of the leaves has matured a bit, not quite as bright and chartreusely translucent, and when the winds come the leaves in the trees sway lushly, thick and filled out fully. In the garden, actual real food is starting to grow–what comes to mind first is the ripe scarlet of the strawberries in the garden, and the two-toned green and red of the rhubarb. I have them growing right next to each other, right above the asparagus. Nestled between two rows of asparagus there is an abundant bed of lettuce, so tender when just dressed with a bit of olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Today I spotted the first snow peas of the season, which I can’t wait to gather basketfuls of to blanch and eat by the handful. The beans are poking their heavy little heads out of the soil, and the tomatoes already have flowers. This time of year is at it’s most hopeful. Abundance seems so definite, though a seasoned gardener knows not to get too excited. The promise that a tended garden holds is a guarded one.
One of the most exciting things about June that happens outside of the garden (and therefore has no lingering anxiety tethered to it) has got to be the filling out of the ferns on the forest floor. When they get to their full height of about three feet, they are still young and light green, and slightly sticky when you run your hands through them, as I like to do when I walk. There are certain spots I make sure to visit so I can experience them fully. Each direction you turn yields a kaleidoscopic view of fractal green, waving in the breeze. There’s something about them that dazzles the eye. I don’t know much about ferns except that they are ancient plants that are rather complex, so I think that I’ll just admire them from a distance. There is only too much you can know about, you know? However, you can’t help but to think to yourself, look at this plant that’s been around for thousands of years, and yet the Wikipedia entry has to note: “Ferns are not of major economic importance…” Maybe that’s why they have stuck around so long!
Profit seems to be a defining attribute that humans apply on their surroundings. Another exciting sign of early June in the forest is the ganoderma tsugae, or some call reishi, a shelf fungus that is like a shiny lacquered shell hugging the sides of hemlock trees. It starts out like shmoo-like blobs (for lack of a better description) that truly beg to be touched. They are slightly squishy and damp when you give in to the temptation. It seems that these medicinal mushrooms have been catching the eye of profiting gatherers. Is any kind of greed a good kind of greed, I wonder?