June has brought with it an entirely different world. Full trees, insects a plenty - the high temperatures and rain have made a glorious jungle of our modest Ohio forests. Summer in its blazing glory is upon us.
See past months HERE
While it has been plenty hot, the first day of summer is officially here!
Today is the day of light - 15 hours of daylight (here in Ohio) to be exact, this is why people often embellish and call it the longest day of the year (still 24hrs in a day though).
How does this work? Earth's axis is inclined towards the sun directly above the Tropic of Cancer - simply, us Northern Hemispher-ers are tilted as fully as we'll get to the sun.
We will also experience an extended period of twilight this evening - moody sunset photographers I'm looking at you to work your magic!
Everyone knows Stonehenge is aligned with the solstice sunrise, but did you know here in Ohio, the Great Serpent Mound is as well? It's true! The head of the serpent aligns with the solstice's sunset.
This is also a time for festivals and celebrations as the life giving light is at its fullest, why not say thanks to the sun!
For those inclined, you can go further with the spiritual side of the day with a simple ritual or reading. I really enjoy The Seasonal Soul for such things - link HERE. If that's not your thing, no worries, nature will keep doing what nature will do.
Today let us thank the sun, embrace its life giving qualities, and start learning about our summer wildflowers - beginning with one I feel most mimics the sun with its bright yellow center and tiny rays radiating outward... The humble Fleabane
How lush June has made the woods. The last of the spring flowers have seeded and fallen back. Now we see the summer blooms - the grasses, sedges, rushes, and prairie flowers reaching high.
A new trail has been cut through the woods at Barnes Preserve. Twisting and winding through old trees, young trees, and over many damp spots - where the sedges grow abundant. With boots and bug spray I highly recommend exploring this new section - long pants should also be a given, poison ivy is abundant.
It may be hot and muggy out but don't let that stop you. Pack a water, walk slowly, and embrace this season as it only comes around once a year!
One evening, on a whim, we decided to try to find the King Rail that had been spotted along Force Rd. As we crested the hill we found cars and people all over! Okay, well there were like five, but if you've ever been back there, that's quite a crowd on the 1 lane rd. So we parked at the upper lot and walked down. As we walked I couldn't help notice all the blooms on the grasses and the mullen in the shape of a bird! Approaching the group we were able to spot the rail for a few minutes and even hear it make its call! Noah stayed with the group in the hopes of seeing it reemerge where as I continued down the road finding some great blooming grasses, meadow rue, and a few quiet moments.
How lush and green the world has become
around me hums - through the air
Looking even closer
how the grasses bloom
and sway in the breeze.
I put my face near the earth
the warm smell
like a sun tanned body
bring to mind all the summers before
and all the summers to come.
This trip found lots of blooms - sedges, poison ivy, rushes, water penny wort budding, as were the rose pogonia orchid. It also brought many mosquitoes and black flies - at the kettle hole we were greeted by damselflies and craneflies who were happy to gobble up any mosquitoes following us.
The first day of June... there's something so special about the first of the month, it's like New Years day. May has been a rough month for me, so today I'm fully embracing the illusion that the little number 1 that the calendar brings. New start, refresh, restart, it's like saying "Okay, let's try this again". Anyone else feel that full moon in Sagittarius? Woo buddy.
At any rate.
A new month.
This month we switch from our spring wildflowers to the summer flowers and forbs. Yesterday I made it out to the country and through the swamps, everywhere I looked there were blooming grasses and wildflowers -less delicate than the spring- summer wildflowers are bold and pushy, they have to be to compete with the grasses, sedges, rushes, and trees.
My goal for this month, maybe goal is the wrong term, my intent is to learn more and share said info about the different grasses, sedges, and weedy plants that can be found blooming this time of year, as well as explore, map out, and write about the last few wild areas I need to document for my book "A Hiker's Guide to Wayne County"(working title). Yep, you heard that right, a book highlighting all the fantastic spots to walk, hike, and observe nature in Wayne County Ohio all in one handy dandy place!
But for now I'll leave you with a quote, a call to you to be like the summer wildflowers - be bold, be fearless - take life by the reigns and go forth into the great unknown. Life happens, good and bad, don't over celebrate the good, don't sit and dwell on the bad, just go and do! Happy June friends!
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.