This week's word is one of my favorites, coming to us from French, then the Late Latin aestīvālis, both originating in the earlier Latin form aestās meaning summer or summery.
In the science of zoology, aestival refers to the tendency of all living creatures to be somewhat sleepy and slow moving in the heat of summer, and botanists use the word to describe the arrangement of organs or components in a flower bud.
I once thought that the word siesta (referring to a leisurely nap after lunch) was related, but I discovered some time ago that siesta has its roots in the Latin sexta meaning the sixth hour of the day (midday). The sounds are similar, but the words are not related at all as far as I know.
June is only a few days away now, and this week's word is one of my favorites for June and the greening season. Of course, summer is a good word too. It has a fine old ring to it and decades of fond associations, but it doesn't hold a candle or even a tiny wooden match to the frothy perfumed magnificence of the golden season that reigns so briefly here in the sub-Arctic climes of Canada.
I say "aestival" and its sibilance summons up images of outdoor festivals and al fresco celebrations, shaggy gardens of scarlet poppies and towering purple lupins, trees filled with singing birds, "bumbles" in the orchard, roses sweeter than any vineyard potion, perfect sunsets across the lake shared with stately herons. It's all gold, and it's all good. Here comes June in all her glory. Happy June, everyone!