Taking the Heat and saying Thank You



Summer’s heat and humidity are  the most common complaints on the South Texas Gulf Coast in the middle of July.In the Spring I hear “April showers bring May flowers”, but there don’t seem to be any comparable sayings pointing to blessings that a 106 heat index brings. However, the gifts are there, and I am reminded to count them.  Here are a few.


Summer’s heat produces these vermilion flowers twisted into a tube with extended stamens protruding from the whorl. Some call the plant bleeding hearts; my grandmother called them Turks’ Caps and always had them in her East Texas yard. I adore these little twisted turbans.  Their scarlet flashes are rivaled only by the red birds that like the berries left after the flowers fade.


Morning glories!  Without the heat from the morning sun, they would stay closed shut. But with morning light, their fragile cobalt petals unfurl so the star in their throats can shine.


Honeysuckle vines reach for the heat and produce sweet nectar- bearing blooms that lure me with their fragrance.

IMG_0580Golden day lilies bare their cheerful faces to sunshine.



Peppers of all shapes, sizes and colors thrive in summer’s furnace along with yellow squash, zucchini, and melons.  All these add nutritious goodness to our summer suppers.


Figs!  Our abundant crop of figs is plenty to enjoy and more than enough to share.


Peaches are at their best in summer’s heat.  My favorite variety ripens in August.

Fennel, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, and all my favorite herbs don’t even begin to thrive until it begins to get hot. Cutting them just before they go into a light summer soup or salad gives a rich, fragrant treat for the cook!

Still counting…

I am grateful.





This will be a week of seeing night skies shot through with neon sprays of light accompanied by gasps and ahs as dramatic firework displays entertain crowds while smaller scale backyard pyrotechnics fizzle and pop.

 I love better, bursts of bloom from our garden

 crepe myrtle trees heavy with crinkly scarlet clusters

lifted  against snowy clouds

free-floating in cerulean sky

I love better,stars blazing

 in the heart of a morning glory

Too, the tall spires of indigo salvia,

 fragrance from tiny white spears of sweet almond

seed fronds of native grasses waving and dancing

afternoon breezes coaxing music from wind chimes




This Morning…

IMG_0399dear familiar line and color

velvet spread of leaf

magenta and vermilion petal

held in the sweet curve

of glazed garden pot

one brief glimpse

telling me

this is home

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.”

~ C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

As If


“I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you ~would be stricken blind. And the same method can be applied to the other senses. Hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in the beauty which the world in all the facets of pleasure reveals to you through the several means of contact which Nature provides.”   .~ Helen Keller

The commonly believed myth regarding the loss of hearing or sight is false.  People who are blind or visually impaired are not endowed with a sharper sense of touch, hearing, taste, or smell. To compensate for their loss of vision, many learn to listen more carefully, or remember without taking notes, or increase directional acumen to compensate for their  lack of functional vision. In other words, they pay more attention, using their senses in a more mindful way.  They make choices.

If I am never silent, if I surround myself with the noise of machines and electronic entertainment constantly, I will most likely never hear birdsong or water trickling over rocks. I have the choice to “unplug,”  go outside for even a brief walk in the garden and make the most of my senses, to “relish”, as Helen Keller phrases.

What are some of the ways you practice this?