Norman Knight: Goodbye, June

Goodbye, June. Thirty days hath September, April, November and you, who, after today, must now leave us.

Goodbye, June, to your days of sweet, not-yet-sweltering summer. Goodbye to your early, first flowers now blossoming into full color. Goodbye to the first shoots of vegetables in the garden now growing into mature plants. Goodbye, I say as I dig and pull, to the never-ending weeds who won’t take no for an answer. Goodbye to the buds on the Hosta stalks that the deer claim in the middle of the night.

Goodbye to the summer solstice and the long daylight now imperceptibly giving way to cool evening dark. Goodbye, Light. Goodbye and a Shakespearean “Adieu” to Midsummer night’s eve. Goodbye and goodnight to the Strawberry moon.

Goodbye, June, to your weddings and anniversaries. You were named for the Roman goddess of marriage and the well-being of women, some say, and who am I to doubt? Goodbye to Dads Day and Flag Day, Grads days and birthdays. Goodbye to and a much belated “welcome” for our first official Juneteenth. May your influence and our awareness grow.

Goodbye, June. Goodbye to the last days of class and the happy sadness of another school year’s end. Goodbye to empty desks and lesson plans. Goodbye to online learning, at least for now. Goodbye to the relative quiet of homework, even while homebound. Goodbye to school-related schedules. And now here at the end of the month, we must already start saying goodbye to the last innings of the grandkids’ live and in-person, all-day softball games.

Goodbye, June, to your central position in the calendar, to your function as the fulcrum of 2021. Looking backwards and forwards, like a mid-summer New year’s Day, we remember as well as hope.

We look back on the year so far and say goodbye, mostly, to masks. Goodbye, pretty much, to elbow touches, fist bumps and no-hugs. Goodbye, within reason, to extreme social distance. Goodbye to no singing or laughing or talking loud. Goodbye to outdoor dining in the cold. Goodbye to shuttered restaurants and call-ahead appointments. Goodbye to crowd-less events and virtual sports. Goodbye, with crossed fingers, to at least some of the fear.

And, yet, June, as you leave, I am reminded in the midst of my joy and hope to remain vigilant. The beginning of this summer freedom must not lead to an unwarranted complacency. Variants, they say, are out there, and who am I to doubt? I can’t yet say goodbye to this constant awareness of where I am and who I am around. Will this low-level almost anxiety always be there? Is this a part of who I am now? I can only hope it is temporary.

Still, June, as I say goodbye, I remember that for every goodbye there is usually a hello. Our July schedule has been coming together for a while now. August and September look to be filling up, as well. Who knows? Before long things might be back to normal, whatever that is. I guess the best thing for me, for us, is to keep smiling and greeting the new day with hope.

Hello, July.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].