Fashion & Beauty

Spring into Summer

1-Scented_geranium,_aka_bowl_o'sunshineScented geranium, aka bowl o’ sunshine

The summer visitors have arrived. They show up all of a sudden, in an array of styles and colors that practically scream “Summer is here!” One day the landscape comprises a crowd dressed in varying hues of green, and the next—well, see for yourself.





4-False_indigoFalse Indigo



My “Little Miss Kim” lilac arrives in a burst of grapey color and then immediately fades to white, leaving behind a trail of sweet perfume that fills the yard for days.


6-Little_Miss_KimLittle Miss Kim

Here in eastern Massachusetts, the transformation from late spring to early summer is a visually joyous one. The air feels both lighter and fresher: a soft caress has replaced the chilly slap of April. I may still need a light jacket for my morning walk on nearby wooded trails, but the knitted cap and gloves remain in the closet.

7-Rhododendron_in_the_WoodsRhododendron in the woods


8-New_ferns(1)New ferns

Yet underneath all the outward cheer, early summer leaves me feeling a little empty. As the weather warms up, an old sadness resurfaces as its mid-June anniversary approaches. And as a young working mother, I always found the close of the school year, with its many festivities and fond farewells, tinged with melancholy. One more year of their childhood torn from the calendar.

My days of year-end band concerts, sewing on name tags, and packing trunks for summer camp are long over, but for me, June will always outrank January as an important marker of passing time.

9-Summer_breezeSummer breeze

The great thing about getting ‘older,’ though, is that I no longer have to concern myself with summer’s superficial branding. While I do pay attention to advice about protecting my skin, I can turn the page when I see headlines like “4 Weeks to a Bikini Body,” because, really, who cares?

Instead, I’ll look beyond the sunny façade and shake things up. That warmer air and lack of weather-related obstacles frees us all to tackle something different, something hard.

Never finished Middlemarch? Maybe this is the summer to do it. Climb a mountain, learn another language, or try a new form of writing. Test the limits of your brain and your body.

Or—as my husband and I plan to do after decades of full-time work—give yourself a sabbatical. Taking a road trip, living someplace new, and launching a project are all on our agenda.

So yeah, the summer visitors are here; let the season begin.


Photos by Judith A. Ross

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  • D. A. Wolf July 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Your words and images are lovely, Judith. It’s interesting that June is a time of melancholy for you, and I can see why. (July is that for me, though I have no clue as to the reason.)

    Certainly, having lived many years in Massachusetts, I know the immense pleasure in the flowers and soft breezes when they finally arrive. Their season seems short-lived, and perhaps that why they are so very much appreciated.

  • ellensue spicer-jacobson June 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Lovely photos & lovely, on target sentiments! ellensue

  • Judith A. Ross June 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Hi Toni,

    Thank you for the complimentary comment! I love columbine too — are yours many different colors? Is it true that the colors tend to get “muddy” when bunches of different ones are planted together?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  • Toni Myers June 22, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Judith, Beautiful piece and lovely photos. My favorite is the columbine and my yard is full of them. They threaten to take over and I reply: go ahead!