Under the August sun.

On my outing to the beach last week I snapped some pictures of coastal neighborhood landscapes. The spot I visited is by a hilly village of cottages, and in former days we used to walk up from the beach and admire the unique houses and plantings. This time I drove around slowly and leaned out the window a few times.

Things have been heating up here in an atypical way, which is what I hear from people all over. It’s not unusual to have a heat wave, but electric storms, rain showers, high winds and a series of muggy days definitely are not what we are used to at this season. I do like 90 degrees better without the dampness. Still, warm evenings — if they are calm — make me feel happy and more at home on the earth. Our standard weather, being frequently chased inside by the cold and damp summer breeze, is the downside of this temperate climate, but we’re always happy to go back to it after a period of scorching.

In my own garden the sunflowers,
white echinacea and asparagus
are creating their usual jungle.

Until this summer I had eaten exactly one plum from my two Elephant Heart  plum trees, which are in their fifth season. This summer they bore five green-speckled fruits, and I doled them out to myself over last week. Each one astonished me. I know that sounds overly dramatic, and sadly it doesn’t even tell you a thing about the fruit, whose flavor deserves a poem. I’ll work on that, especially if I get a few more to do research on next summer. I must mark my calendar so I’m not away on a trip at the beginning of August.

At church there are new things the current gardener has done. I wandered around the other day when the Japanese anemones were being appreciated by a bee, and lizards ran joyfully about from one hot sidewalk to another.

I hope you all are prospering in your souls,
and that your heads are not hanging too low,
like this sunflower I saw in my neighborhood —
though it is beautiful. Have courage!

11 thoughts on “Under the August sun.

  1. We need courage to face the obstacles that arrive unheralded, to maintain a semblance of light and balance, and to remain true to ourselves and our families.

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  2. I loved this post, Gretchen. And the thought of feeling “more at home with the earth.” That’s really beautiful. These photos are lovely and it’s very thoughtful, leaving me with much to think about.

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  3. I hadn’t really taken in that you too are a gardener. These are lovely pictures. Being outdoors, appreciating nature, musing and gently handling the gifts all around us makes for a quiet mind.

    I have also only just realised how to access your blog, clicking on your comment name simply doesn’t work. I have joined and hope that I will be informed of new posts.

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  4. “prospering in your souls” — what a lovely expression. I hope you don’t mind if I steal it and use it. Your garden is looking great. You have so many different kinds of plants! Don’t you love those lizzards…I certainly enjoy seeing them in my little back garden on these hot, hot days. I hope you get some relief from the humid heat soon. Didn’t realize air conditioning is not widely used up your way.

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  5. I need to remember to spend some time just looking at my Japanese Anemones. They ask for nothing. They’ve not been given any water all these dry weeks yet they bloom and look lovely. I must take a picture soon.

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  6. I really want a plum right now! There were only a handful on my trees this year, but they are now only a distant sweet memory. Spring freezes generally wipe out most of the fruit. Lizards are such cheerful and happy little critters. They love the small boulders we have scattered about the place. “Prospering in your souls” I hadn’t heard that phrase for a long while. It is so comforting to sing the words, “It is well with your souls.”

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  7. Ever since I read this beautiful post yesterday I have been careful not to hang my head down too low, literally and figuratively! I know it’s bad for my posture and my soul and not nearly as nice on me as on a sunflower.

    My husband, the plum lover, would be poaching your plums if he were a neighbor! I am more of a nectarine fan.

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  8. I’ve been thinking of replacing my straggly myrsine hedge with a low border of aeoniums and there you are, posting a photo of what that might look like. My own anemones seem fewer in number this year. They might be due a dividing.

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