Wednesday, July 24, 2019

High Summer

The Garden in High Summer
The greens tend to become more yellow in the middle of summer and the blooms dry out a bit in the mid-day sun.

This time of year, in the middle of July, the term "high summer" comes to mind and, for me, it describes the sights, sounds and the feel of the outdoors here at home in Alexander. I pretty much live outside once the nice weather arrives in late spring. I would be okay with closing up most rooms in the house until fall. We could drape the furniture in big white sheets of muslin, the way I have seen in the movies when people close their homes in preparation for a long absence, and uncover everything when the brisk fall air returns. I like seasonal rituals and that would work just fine for me. As the cicadas sing in the bower overhead and the leaves on the trees start to have more of a dry sound when they move slightly on the breeze, I begin to get the sense that the summer is half over. And, as much as I love autumn, it does make me a little sad. The recent heat wave forced me inside for about five days because it was just too hot and humid to do anything outdoors, but it didn't change my feelings for summer. I still love summer.

In spring, summer and fall, I get hyper-focused on my gardens. We have such a short growing season here that many plants don't get growing and blooming until about now and my garden seems to really take off from July until the first frost. Yes, some of the early bloomers are finished with their show, but now the cone flowers, phlox, day lilies, black-eyed Susans, butterfly bushes and hostas are in bloom. The birds, butterflies and hummingbirds stop by and I am entertained every morning when I look at the garden while I have my first cup of coffee. Yes, gardening adds a whole lot of additional work with planning, shopping, planting and maintenance, but it adds much joy to my life. Gardening has taught me many lessons, just as my other hobbies of quilting and paper crafting have. I have learned to follow my own path, enjoy the journey, the surprise outcomes that come my way, and have learned to be more accepting of myself and what I create. I've learned to strive for what I consider to be beautiful . . . not perfect . . .  and not make myself crazy trying to make things look like they are in a magazine or someone else's garden. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. It warms my heart that my husband takes joy in creating our gardens. He cares about the things that are important to me and offers his time to help me work on planting, pruning and even shopping. It was at his urging recently, that we went for a ride and discovered two new-to-us nurseries where we picked up some beautiful things.

I can feel a bit of a shift, though, in my thoughts and I am mentally preparing to get back into my studio for sewing, wreath making and paper crafts. I have neglected my workspace to the point that the table has become a storage area, which made it impossible to use as a work surface. So, it is time once again to clean it out and reorganize it. I think it is a never-ending struggle for most creative people to get their work spaces just the way they want them.

Late afternoon rides in our old convertible . . . when the sun is lower and not so hot . . . is a real treat for me in the summer. We take to the back roads and enjoy the changes in the landscape. The ripening of the wheat to deep gold, the green windrows of freshly cut hay, and the tall stands of corn are a feast for our senses. Of course, this sometimes includes a stop for ice cream. And yes, as my mother would say if we ate a snack in the late afternoon, "it'll ruin your supper",  . . . but we don't care! If my mother was still here, I would bet money that she would eat the ice cream, too!

I've wandered around a bit in this post, not having a well-planned and thought-out message to share. It is a nice cool morning and as the day is breaking, I am consumed with thoughts of weeding, watering, and battling Japanese Beetles on my rose bushes. I can see bright sky out my window and will close here so I can get that second cup of coffee on the deck and look out at my garden. Now . . . isn't that a surprise?!?!

As always, it is my wish for you and those you love that you are happy and healthy. You are in my morning prayers and for those who are dealing with special issues, I keep you close in prayer all day long. Your questions and comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I always read your comments and will respond. And . . . until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


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