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Averyt: Summer Solstice

Summer in Vermont is the time plants move into the fast lane. Forget that American Pharaoh just made history with the first Triple Crown victory in 37 years. That kind of speed is nothing compared to what plants do here in Vermont when the sun beams down its radiance and rain waters the earth.My tomato plants got off to an early start this year, and now they’re climbing high on the growth chart, boasting a profusion of yellow blossoms - looking just great. A gentlewoman farmer friend of mine in Warren - which is better known for snow banks than early vegetable harvests - says her kale and peppers are sprouting and the green beans have broken ground.

After the frigid winter we’ve just been through, there’s nothing more satisfying than to glory in the lush green of our mountainsides and revel in the rich texture of just plowed fields. We will of course have to wait until late August and the county fairs to see just how big the cucumbers and pumpkins grow this year, but they’re off to an impressive start.

One of the ways I survive the long weeks of winter is to imagine fall's cornucopia of vegetables. Another is to populate my living room with leafy plants. They're good company, but they seem to spend the months of winter drifting in the doldrums.
Then again, so do I. And in good bear tradition I also grow an extra layer of fat to insulate me against the long cold. Come summer I shed that winter accumulation by walking and weeding, finding ways to stay active. Summer's the North Country's reward for surviving six months of ice.

In winter, plants patiently endure limited light. But as the summer days stretch in length, plants reach heavenward. Blossoms laugh in riot, blooms love a crowd, beaches fill with children, bikers follow their path, creemie stands lift their shutters and soon farmers will bring their bounty to market.

Tending house plants through the winter teaches me patience and perseverance. Watching the explosion of my garden in summer fills me with hope and the wonder of anticipation. The greening of Vermont is underway.

June leaps off the calendar. It’s a month of birth and rebirth as we celebrate the summer solstice, the day of summer's blossoming, the first day of the season that starts with hope - and hopefully ends in abundance.

Free lance writer, Anne Averyt, lives in South Burlington, with her cat Sam and as many flowers as possible.
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