Markers for the transition week to August along the 40th Parallel include the blooming of purple ironweed, the ripening of the first blackberries, the beginning of the passage of monarch butterflies, the start of late-summer’s night cricket song, the flocking of starlings, the loud calls of the katydids at night, and elderberries darkening for wine.
These events and so many others all happen at the same time, their accumulation composing the exact color and scent and texture of this particular time of year. Of course, the butterflies do not cause the katydids. The crickets do not cause the ironweed to bloom. Nevertheless, all the developments of this week are related in a synchronous web, are meaningfully related, to the extent that if they did not occur in sync with one another, there would be no sixth week of middle summer but something altogether different.
The philosopher and psychologist Carl Jung used the word, “synchronicity” to describe "temporally coincident occurrences" that may be related by their meaning. In everyday conversation, people speak of “synchronicity” referring to coincidences that seem too closely related to be just coincidences. In the context of nature, however, although nothing may occur without cause, the days themselves are formed and defined from “temporally coincident occurrences,” that is events happening at the same time, events that reveal to the very blossom and tadpole the meaning of space and time. Things happen together: that is what makes the world make sense.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the seventh week of middle summer. In the meantime, notice how everything is happening together.