An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 8, 2014
issued from the Frio Canyon Nature Education Center
in the valley of the Dry Frio River in northern Uvalde County, southwestern Texas,
on the southern slope of the Edwards Plateau, USA

JUNE SYCAMORES

Sycamore leaves in June sunlight

After our big rain on Memorial Day the Dry Frio is running again. Until now along the river's dry stretches the Sycamores' leaves weren't expanding with their usual springtime abandon. They looked cramped on their branches, maybe a bit stunned by endless days without rain. And then the flood brought so many changes into the landscape that I stopped noticing them.

However, the other day I stretched out on gravel beneath a big Sycamore along the river and found myself looking up into a blue sky framed by fully unfurled, sunlight-glowing Sycamore leaves, and I was surprised by how fast the leaves had developed in just a few days, and by how beautiful, and vigorous they looked. At the top of this page you can see exactly the leaves I saw then.

A light breeze streamed up the river causing the leaves to quake and sometimes bend to the side, so what's missing in that picture is the shadows moving about and sunflecks coming and going, the leaves twisting back and forth on their slender petioles, the rustling sound of leaves in a light breeze, and the odor and feeling of a morning moving toward midday.

There was another feeling, too, a more profound one. That feeling was compounded of memories and associations from many times having seen and experienced Sycamore leaves in their vigorous, perfect June state, and the way I've always felt in those Junes.

For, in June I do feel a certain way. It's the spring-turning-to-summer feeling, the feeling of another whole, long summer ahead, the uncertainty of how to handle it, but also the hunger to plunge into it, and to deal with it my own way. But, after being so many different ways through so many summers, what is my own way now?

One soothing feature of Sycamore leaves resplendently glowing in June sunlight is that you can so plainly see that the Sycamore already has its summer figured out, and has already gotten to work on it: Its plan is to keep photosynthesizing, keep gathering energy for producing flowers and fruits, while all the time dealing with insects, diseases and storms, and preparing for winter, and to do all this with a certain flair, which is pretty to be in the presence of.

As I lie on my back seeing fresh June Sycamore leaves with the rain-washed, blue sky beyond, then, metaphorically I'm being offered a paradigm suggesting a way to get through at least these next few month, and do it prettily.

What a pleasure lying on one's back, looking up into the sky occupied with sunlight-glowing Sycamore leaves in June. What a gift that even in the late October of one's life, there remain Junes with Sycamores, sunlight and wind in them.  Facebook Icon.