If we could bottle a few days to uncork later in the year — when the wind has got us by the neck and the curbs are full of taxi-slush — these would be the ones: early June, the days of peony and iris. Conifers still wear the green tips of new growth, and a few of the hardwoods, hickories especially, still show a last vestige of May. Otherwise, the trees have cast their pollen and fledged completely. Now come the deep, dark shadows of late summer.
In the city, the pigeons have passed the stage of courtship and settled into a beak-to-beak domesticity full of gratified cooing. The subway platforms are still temperate. In the country, the cool, dry nights are completely silent, none of August’s night-rasp. At twilight, the swallows go off watch, and on come the bats. In the dimness you can still make out bumblebees flying bottom-heavy from blossom to blossom. The fireflies have not yet lit up.
Best of all, the day is still growing in length, the solstice still a couple of weeks away. This is the particular poignancy of June. So much has gone by already — fruit blossoms, daffodils, tulips and lilacs — and yet everything feels so young, even as we come to the turning point in the calendar of light, the moment when the year starts waning again. It feels absurdly unsynchronized, and yet it is synchronicity itself.
It would be nice to decant some early June whenever you needed to, when the sun hasn’t shone in days, when the temperature reaches triple digits, whenever the weather or anything else gets you down. But all we can do is drink in June while the month is upon us, while the peonies are coming into bloom.