Nature’s Clock

Two weeks ago I was astounded to find thousands of beetles (Rose Chafers) infesting my yellow raspberry plants.  I had been checking my plants and waiting for them to appear, as they always do in early summer.  I was expecting them, just not in such numbers.  A week and a half later they were subsiding and their close relative, the Japanese Beetle was beginning to appear.  This got me thinking about time and how the seasons unfold.  Rose Chafers are always followed by Japanese Beetles.  Rhubarb is up way before the first raspberries are ripe.  One thing precedes the next and the next, like a clock.   Except of course, nature’s clock doesn’t sync up with our own clocks.  Often I switch over from rhubarb to raspberries around the second week of July.  This year, probably on account of the coldest March on record, I still don’t have raspberries.  My gardening friends report that everything is delayed this year.  Still the season unfolds in a predictable order, right? Well, I was surprised the other day to find the gooseberries and currants pretty much ready to harvest at about the same time they always are.  They had eclipsed the raspberries this year! IMG_1652 So Some things are delayed more than others, and some not even at all.  Hmmm.  And then it occurred to me that everything that ripens and hatches – all the life in the berry patch –  will run its course this year, but maybe in a condensed amount of time.  In high school I read a story called “All Summer in a Day,” about people living on Venus.  It rained all the time, all year long, except for one single day.  On that day the sun shone, and the plants flowered and fruited, and everyone went outside to be in nature.  Everyone except for a kid that was locked inside.  I’m grateful that I get to spend so much time outside.  It looks like this summer’s going to be mighty intense, and condensed, but I’d take a short summer over no summer at all.