A Woodland Stroll, or Your July Book of Days

Welcome to July. Here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for July. It is, as usual, a printable PDF and a fine companion to this blog. Cover star this month: a mid- to late-19th century oil painting called “Summer Day in Sæby Skov with Three Young Ladies Strolling.” It’s a lovely painting with a long title by Danish artist Carl Frederik Aagaard. The trees remind me of woodland strolls in North Carolina and Maine, where the trees are so much different than they are here in Florida.

It is the month of national holidays in Canada and France and here in the US, and of many saints’ days –– Swithin, James, Ann, and Martha, to name a few –– and of the Japanese star festival known as Tanabata. In two days’ time, the Dog Days of Summer will begin, as Sirius begins rising with the sun… and there they will remain with us through the 11th of August. And even in the midst of those often hottest days of summer, the last night of July will bring the Eve of Lammas, the old but little known cross quarter day that reminds us of summer’s fleeting nature, for nothing ever stays the same in the constantly shifting wheel of the year. I’ll visit you as often as I can through this coming month, sharing stories for these days.

At the online shop, you’ll find my mom Millie as the cover star for the current HIGH FIVE SALE: Use discount code HIGH5 at checkout for $5 off your purchase of $35 or more. That’s on everything in the shop: our own letterpress printed books and broadsides, genuine Shaker herbs and teas, all of our handmade artisan goods for all the seasons. Plus free domestic shipping when you reach $60. CLICK HERE to shop, and thank you for your support!

It’s not too late to enjoy Shakespeare’s midsummer play (Seth and I are going to sit down and watch the 1999 film version tonight). A week ago, for Midsummer Night, I read an adaptation of  “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a new video series from the Jaffe Center for Book Arts called Stay Awake Bedtime Stories. I had fun reading the story and you may find it fun to watch. I think it’s about 20 minutes long. Please enjoy it by clicking here.


Image: “Summer Day in Sæby Skov with Three Young Ladies Strolling” by Carl Frederik Aagaard. Oil on canvas, circa mid- to late-1800s [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons].

6 thoughts on “A Woodland Stroll, or Your July Book of Days

  1. mary beth shipley says:

    Wonderful post! I so look forward to your emails! Thank you so much for sharing your insight!

    Another worthy July festival is the of observation of the Native American Green Corn Ceremony, or “Busk”. This is usually celebrated in late July. I love honoring the tribes by remembering their spirited traditions!


  2. mary beth shipley says:

    And on a second note I really appreciate the link to the Shakespeare video! Apparently we can celebrate mid summer anywhere from June 11 through July 4 depending on the calendar you subscribe to…so we are still in season!

    Speaking of Shakespeare, I am planning on celebrating July 31st by reading Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare gives her birth as Lammas eve, “on Lammas-Eve at night shall she be fourteen” below is a beautiful link with much more information. I hope you join me in this tradition!


  3. Cari Ferraro says:

    Ah, John, I enjoyed your Midsummer reading so much. Your crown is very fetching! I adore Midsummer Night’s Dream and have used it to make a few of my favorite calligraphic art pieces, which you can see on my website by simply searching for a Midsummer or Shakespeare.

    Now isn’t it true that Mary Magdalene is now a saint and that her feast day is July 22?

    • John Cutrone says:

      Thank you, Cari! I asked Seth to make me a floral crown, thinking more along the lines of Swedish or English, and what he gave me was full on tropical abundance. No complaints here.

      A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of my favorite stories. And yes, the Feast of Mary Magdalene is indeed July 22 (I had to look it up just now)… only recently changed (by Pope Francis, in 2016) from memorial to feast. A good upgrade!

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