Joy of June

Joy of June

Half of the year is almost over. Fifteenth day of the sixth month! For some it felt like ages, for some it flew away in the blink of an eye. Corona times had a dual effect on many; it felt strangely both. The world got slower, but time went fast. For some of us, like myself, time was never enough. Forever meeting and missing deadlines, I found myself in a writing marathon. Some, on the other hand, could not figure out what to do with time, like my daughter running into depression when furloughed by the law firm she was working for, a deep contrast to be in complete uselessness after having worked day and night for months. But one thing is certain: Our perception of time has changed. We realized that before corona we were living our lives as if running amok.

Slowing down was like a rescue to many. We began to remember things. We began to remember what it used to be enjoying the moment. Hearing early birds singing in the crack of dawn, listening to rain falling, breathing the intense freshness of new mown grass, feeling the warmth of summer, the whiff of intoxicating linden flowers at night while watching the majestic strawberry moon rising. June is full of all those these moments to savor.

June is a strange month. It is unpredictable, prone to changes. One moment it rains as if raindrops are targeting the earth to take revenge, the other moment the sky is as bright as it can get. The dual character of Gemini is embedded in June. After a rainfall, the captivating fragrances of June invade the air. June is the month of lush greens and sweet smelling fragrant flowers. Blooming linden flowers release an irresistible smell; roses and lavenders bloom in the fields. Actually, the symbols of June are honeysuckles and roses. There is nothing more fun than sucking the nectar of honeysuckles. June is also the month for the most attractive fruits. In far away lands it is the season for lychees, which smell like roses. Strawberries, especially the elusive wild strawberries rival flowers with their wildly alluring aroma. Cherries complete the June cornucopia with their unmatched beauty, resonating with vibrant youth. All so full of taste, so soon to go away!

As far as duality is concerned, both scientists and astrologers were the hippest professions during pandemic times. We wanted both a way to secure ourselves through science and grasp the future through predictions. My duality turned out to be finding myself in an unfamiliar mode: Though I am solid Scorpio, June puts me strangely in a Gemini character. My moods are like a roller coaster, up and down. One day I want to run out to enjoy nature, but the craze of all the people out there after the lockdown holds me back. The other day I feel like staying in isolation forever. My fear of crowds is not for corona fear; it is of going back to running amok days. I want to stay in the past when time was savored, when time was slow. June is already halfway through. Half is already gone, half will be yet to be enjoyed with joy. I think I will voluntarily continue my self-isolation, at least till June ends.

Cork of the Week: On June evenings the wine in your glass has to compete with the sweetest smells lingering in the air. Better to go for Muscat grapes in Turkey, Bornova Misketi, ancestor of all the grapes in the genus is definitely the best choice. Bornova, a district of İzmir, is home to the grape, which was almost going to oblivion a decade ago; fortunately more and more Aegean wineries, especially the ones in the vicinities of İzmir are including the alluring grape in their portfolio. The ideal new homes to the grape are the skirts of Mount Nif, around Urla peninsula, and close to the ancient Meandros, todays Menderes, İsabey İstasyon site. Nothing can match a well-chilled misty glass of Bornova Misket, rivaling linden flowers and roses tasting almost like the nectar of honeysuckles.

Fork of the Week: Linden flowers and June are inseparable. If you have a tree nearby, try to gather some to dry for winter tisanes. To captivate its heavenly smell fresh, infuse a bunch in gin or other white spirit such as vodka or even better white rum, as an alternative to elderberry gins. Honey is another good smell captivator, tuck fresh linden flowers in a jar, pour honey over, and keep tightly sealed. It will be perfect with butter or kaymak for breakfast, or to add a flowery note to fruit salads or milk puddings. Keep in mind that linden flowers also make a delightful infusion for summer drinks, punches and sangrias. And if you do find a tree, promise me to go and dance under it at summer solstice midnight!