What is So Rare
By John Norberg, humor columnist s

I love the scent of new mown grass.

I especially love it when someone else is doing the mowing.

It's been a tough year, weather-wise. As Mark Twain said, everyone has been talking about the weather for the past five months, and nobody has been doing anything about it.

But when you think about, what else is there to do about the weather other than talk?

We can't change it. About the only thing we can do about the weather is go someplace else, but even then how do we know for sure that the weather won't be even worse in the place we go?

For all of 2014 we haven't just been talking about the weather. Specifically, we've been complaining about it. Loudly. Especially me.

Me last January: "I'm not getting out of bed until spring."

Wife: "What about all the snow on the driveway."

Me: "I'm going to wait for it to melt."

Wife: "That might take until June."

Me: "I can wait."

The best way to describe our winter this year is to say it was like standing in Antarctica on a block of ice for 3 months.

In our bare feet.

Then spring came.

It came two months late.

Then spring was followed not by summer, but by more winter weather, then spring weather, then winter, spring, winter.

I'm beginning to think Mother Nature is having trouble making up her mind: "Let it be spring, no, winter . . . no spring . . ."

Weather no longer makes sense and all we can do is complain about it.

But this weekend brings us hope. This weekend brings us June. Sunday is June 1 and if ever there was a promise for perfect days, it's in June.

June is an incredible month filled with promise. It is the first month of summer. Schools are out and kids are playing baseball. Parents and grandparents are spending their evenings sitting on hard, metal bleachers swatting mosquitoes and praying their child doesn't come up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the last inning.

June is a special month for me.

Back about 1920 when my father was five years old poetry was very popular, including long, epic poems that are generally only read in schools today.

One of those poems was by 19th century writer James Russell Lowell titled "The Vision of Sir Launfal." Written in 1848, it's the story of the search for the Holy Grail. Sir Launfal decides not to search for the Holy Grail like other knights when he learns in a long dream, or vision, that the real meaning of the Holy Grail is charity.

It's a good lesson for all of us.

"The Vision of Sir Launfal" was a favorite of my grandmother. She challenged my father to remember the poem on June 1 thinking he would forget it amid all the important things on a young boy's mind in the spring.

But he did remember it. In fact, every June 1 from 1920 until the end of her life he recited lines from the poem to his mother. They are the two lines most people know:

"And what is so rare as a day in June? Then if ever come perfect days."

When he lost his mother, dad continued reciting the lines to others in our family until we lost him too. Now members of our family race one another to see who can recite them first when June arrives.

The poem provides a beautiful description of June and emerging nature beyond the fist two lines. In June, it says, "Heaven tries earth if it be in tune, And over it softly her warm ear lays; Whether we look, or whether we listen, We hear life murmur, or see it glisten."

My wife is particularly happy to see June arrive.

Wife: "You've been gripping for five months. I've heard enough. You're not allowed to complain about the weather in June."

Me: "Why?"

Wife: "Because then if ever come perfect days."

Me: "Maybe I'll complain because it's too perfect."

I'm writing this in the early morning sitting on our patio shaded by tall trees. It's 70 degrees. There is a very gentle breeze. I'm surrounded by green grass, flowers blooming pink, white, red, purple. Red Cardinals and yellow Finches are at our feeders. Birds are singing everywhere. A redheaded woodpecker is poking at a tree. A hummingbird is going from flower to flower.

And what is so rare as a day in June.

I wish the steamy hot, humid weather of July would hurry up and get here so I have something to complain about again

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