A Quiet Summer Evening With a Side of Peaches: Everyday Magic, Day 982

The katydids unify their song, an extended whistle-like tune with small melodic indentations. The cat who shouldn’t be outside is outside anyway, meowing that he wants to be back inside but not really. A motorcycle over the hill and across the field vanishes its song into the higher-pitched hum of the plane overhead. Then it is quiet or at least relatively so.

This has been a summer of porch-sitting, and as eye recovery and associated surprises and lessons continue their  roaring hum, I’ve done a lot of porch listening, like right now on this perfect summer evening as the tree frogs shake their maracas in staccato bursts and the fan continues its wind skimming whisper. I pick up my glass of water and take in the brightening and darkening blues of the western sky, rolling quickly toward one uniform color.

Meanwhile, in the backyard, the peaches — sprung from two volunteers trees that came up out of the compost pile years ago — are showing off their fruitful exuberance. An hour ago, I ran outside to take their picture, naked but for a pair of Crocs, while the bathtub filled, picked one small peach, and took a bite. It was delicious and tangy with sunlight while grasshoppers arced around us.

From all directions, summer’w still summering although it’s showing signs, false ones of course, of slowing down and cooling off. But here in the center of this moment and continent, I close my eyes, breathe slowly and deliberately, and land right where the porch, the peace trees, the cat, and I dwell, someplace east of understanding where the earth sings a lullaby to  the wounds of the world.

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Yup, It’s Hot Out, But It’s Also Kind of Lovely: Everyday Magic, Day 861

It’s hot, and it will be hot for the foreseeable future with highs in the 90s through most of the rest of June. Then it turns July, when it’s 100 degrees most days, and the nights not much cooler. So it’s a time to adjust expectations, walk quickly through the heat, and always carry a big hat. I’m falling in with accepting that it’s hot today, it will be hot tomorrow, and any sudden shivers won’t likely show up for months. I’m also remembering how to do summer:

  • Dinner? Something cold, unless the air-conditioning is powerful, like half a cantaloupe and some smoked fish, or even better, sorbet with chocolate sprinkles. Crackers are also good.
  • The pool. The water will feel bathtub-temperatured after about a minute, but that first minute is divine. The air feels lovely and cool to the face lifting out of the water.
  • Iced water, iced tea, iced smoothies, iced coffee, iced coconut-flavored fizz water.
  • Movie theaters: cialis online tips summer is why they’re here.
  • Gardening early in the morning when it’s only about 88 degrees and o0% humidity.
  • Shorts, light dresses (with shorts underneath), sandals and more sleeveless shirts no matter how much the upper arm under-jiggles jiggles.
  • Splashes of cold water on the water and occasionally down the back.
  • The freezer: a great place to stick the head.
  • Lingering in overly-air-conditioned spaces to better experience the sauna of stepping outside.
  • Accepting that sweat is a part of life.
  • Flowers ecstatic in bloom and fragrance, plus the rise of the berry family coming to a supermarket near you.
  • Ceiling fans and all other kinds of fans to blow the hot air toward us.
  • Being very slow to get anything done but very quick to take an air-conditioned road trip, like drive 80 miles to try the pie in a small town.
  • Night lifts to a new level of lovely especially with the stars out and wind up.

The Real Summer Finally Shows Up, But Who Can Complain?: Everyday Magic, Day 727

Last summer, by this point in August, the temperature dropped to highs in the mid-90s, and we dropped to our knees in gratitude. That’s because June was hotter than hell, and July plunged to the lower rungs of whatever is worst than hell times 100. By the time September seemed like a distinct possibility, we had seen so many days of 100+ degrees and drought that I was sure this was the stark planet where we would always live.

Given the reality of climate change and how temperatures overall on our planet are on the rise, I figured this year would be more of the same pain. At least this was the plan, but you know the old adage about how plans just make god laugh. This time, that laughter worked in our favor. June was mighty fine. July was lovely much of the time. The first half of August was so full of rain and mountain-like weather that one of my friends told me, “We’re having a lovely spring.”

We were, but all springs must end. Now we’ve landed in a long-term forecast of days in the high 90s and nights in the mid 70s. The a.c. blows hard and the ceilings fan whirl happily. Dogs and cats all over the house stretch out on the cool floor and sleep. We’re refilling the ice cube trays many times each day. The next break in temperature? It’s not on the horizon. Even the water in the city pool is getting bathtub-warm.

I guess I’m complaining, but how can I complain? Summer almost skipped us but caught us just in time.

My Hottest Writing: A Retrospective: Everyday Magic, Day 599

Turkeys in our field vying for what shade they can find

Everyday I start to write about the heat, I realize what I’m prone to say has already been said, and what’s worse, by me last summer. So instead I offer this retrospective of life on a desert planet, otherwise known as much of the Midwest lately and more specifically from my vantage point, Kansas:

Meanwhile, let’s toast a large glass of iced water to cooler days ahead, maybe even in the low 90s (be still, my heart!) and continue to inside-out and outside-in our lives in search of air-conditioning and joy.

Flower Bed of Death: Everyday Magic, Day 388

“I have some flowers blooming in my bed of death,” Kris told me on the phone. “Oh, yeah? I have nothing blooming in a whole yard of death,” I replied. Nothing like mid-August in Kansas as we approach the death rattle of a particularly arduous summer.

I start the garden each March with the best of intentions, but I’ve learned to accept that come July sometime, I will abandon all efforts. When the hellish trilogy of Kansas summers envelopes me — chiggers, poison ivy and repeated 100-degree days — I get to the point where I won’t even walk to the vegetable bed to harvest the beans. Who doesn’t love fresh green beans, but is it worth several sleepless nights of chigger invasion to eat them? And it seems too incongruous to spray myself down with poison to pick organic vegetables.

This summer, when we slow-motioned through what seemed like six weeks of depressing weather forecasts (e.g. 100 degrees everyday forever), keeping trees alive and the foundation of the house from cracking by spraying the water hose at them took precedence. Now I’m left with all this death around me, even usually hardy plants such as the take-it-all hostas are suffering.

But all is not lost: the heat-loving sunflowers and osage orange trees go forth and prosper, and the waves of cicadas pour over and under our days, reminding us that August has its blossom, song and big green brain-balls of wonder.