That Beautiful Season

When I was young I loved summer. I enjoying breathing in the smell of chlorine and sun tan oil at the pool. I loved waking up late to a cool breeze moving through the window in my bedroom. I loved Frontier Days, Fourth of July at Rose Lake, vacations to Orofino, and staying with Grandma Woolum in Spokane. Summer days included sleeping outside, sucking on popsicles, eating fresh green beans from the garden, gulping cold Shasta pop, devouring daytime TV, and enjoying lots and lots of reading.

Somewhere along the way in my adult life I stopped enjoying summer, especially July and August. I think I went through a phase where heat really bothered me physically and I wanted to stay inside. My skin became sensitive to the sun so sunscreen, hat, and long sleeves are necessary most days.It seems to take me weeks to adjust from the exhaustion of the school year into summer. Yes, teachers get some time off in the summer. Often between workshops, teaching classes, trainings, and professional reading that time is more scheduled than I like.

Seventeen years ago I began so immerse myself in gardening.Summer is a friend and a foe to our gardens. Right now as we swelter in hundred degree weather we can enjoy the fruits of Everett's labor in the vegetable garden enjoying green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and cabbage. The heat does in many parts of the garden where leaves burn up, blooms wilt, and flowers droop. Everett waters as much as he can. We deadhead and trim back plants and wait for cooler nights so the flowers can recuperate. But the lilies are a friend to heat. As plants around them wilt, the lilies push toward the sun and fill the garden with beauty. Thus, beautiful summer.

We also are concerned about fire in July and August. We live in a dry part of the state and all around us neighbors work hard to conserve water. A wildfire started the other day close to us from a spark of the train. As a community we are aware of our dry conditions and are on the lookout for each other. That is comforting, but makes it difficult for both of us to leave at the same time for long. Our acres demand water. Thus summer can be a foe.

Autumn will always be my favorite season, however this year I decided to embrace summer. I have tried to work outside when it is cooler. I decided to appreciate wild, sometimes overgrown gardens and not focus on the weeds. We have waited for the cool of the evening to enjoy time in the porch swing. By filling the feeders we have enjoyed watching birds come to visit. Of course I have taken hundreds of pictures. July has been filled with camping, hosting family ,visiting family down the lake, creating bouquets, and taking the dogs to the lake. Fortunately we still have more hot days to enjoy and especially the long, lingering light of evening.

"Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I agree Henry.... it is a beautiful season.

Hope: A Sense of Destination

I realized today I had a little theme going in my garden with signs that included "hope".  I don't think it was an accident. I have thought much the last few days about that word hope and what it means. My husband and I also had a long conversation about it.  He gave me his perspective from a biblical point of view. He feels  like hope is not wishing,but it is knowing and believing in something. There have been many times I didn't have the strength or wisdom to hope. I was back to wishing and hoping like they were the same thing.

I now believe hope gives us a reason to get up in the morning. It gives us something to look forward do. It isn't "Gee I hope it get it." It is a sense of knowing what to work toward. Goodness, it took me years to figure that out.

I love what Norman Cousins had to say about hope:  “The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.”

I think when I sang "High Hopes" at camp in the summer I did believe that little old ant could move that rubber tree plant. It wasn't about wishing, but about a sense of destination, plus that energy to get started. I now see why that song always inspired me. 

I will remember now the part in the quote from Cousins about energy. Often we are hopeful to start a project, finish a project, weed the garden, organize a room, or fill in the blank with whatever is on that list of things to do. Often  the energy is just not there  to get started. I am going to hang on to that idea of " a sense of destination and the energy to get started." That gives me hope.

I hoped for gardens that would provide beauty around me. At first I thought is was wishing, but now I see that it really is a destination. I am still moving toward that destination. I think this is the new sign I need in my garden. Hope can bloom.

Waking Up Early

I am working hard at trying to be more of a morning person. This morning both of us work up very early. There are advantages. I caught the first trumpet vine bloom covered with rain.

 I found the first morning glory blooms hidden below the clematis.

 I also found Mary Oliver's poem again today and reread it and enjoyed it as much this time. 

Why I Wake Early
By Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety—

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light—
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Makeover Time

I spent today figuring out what I wanted to do with my blog and how I wanted it to look.I think I am pleased with the "new look", but time will tell. I love the idea that there are more posts for people to see, but need to get used to the idea of clicking to see the rest of a post. I collected some pictures of life around our place the last few days to post tonight. The bird above is a treasure I found at the Rose Shop at the Rose Garden in Portland.
 Grayson is tolerating our new dog visitors, but misses his time with us.
 I found this lovely chime a week ago and today it made pleasant sounds.

The native grasses in the evening sun were lovely.

Beautiful Garden Sights

It is hard to pick which time of year the gardens is the most beautiful. When I returned home from my trip it took me a few days to tour, deadhead, examine, and enjoy the gardens. Here are some images I collected. Right now I am loving summer. Enjoy!