Thursday, August 29, 2013

Curtain Blowing Days

     It is August, the hot, panting, dog days of summer when the air sweats and the earth blisters beneath my feet. The trees complain with the electric buzzing of fat-bodied cicadas. I water the weeds in order to temper the cracked, iron-souled soil, and my burgeoning pots of geraniums and marigolds tire with the effort to flourish and threaten to wither. I become a slave to the sprinkler, a prisoner of air conditioning. Woe is me.

     Not this August. Last summer was relentless, but this year we have had armfuls brimming with curtain blowing days deserving of a whole blog post of wonderment. Some days I wake early in the morning feeling chilly beneath the sheet as the restless curtains fill with the sweet breath of summer whispering wistfulness to me. The windows and doors are flung welcoming-wide all day long and the lines between house and garden are blurred. The cicadas are hushed with disbelief. “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability,” so I sit respectably beside an open window and devour books like ice cream. I go outside to water the flowers and shrubbery by hand because it lasts longer than sprinkling, and I have a need as urgent as thirst to quaff this rare elixir of days right down to its dregs. At night, I listen to the crickets brighten up the dark.

     What bliss there is in this crumpled old world.

     There are still the days that boil over and burn, after all, it is August; but I hold fast to those hours when I wake in the morning with the curtains blowing blessings to me.
quote by author and philosopher, Sam Keen

Friday, August 23, 2013

All This Juice and All This Joy

     Holding a ripe peach in my hand, I peel away the eager, blushing skin to the sweet, golden flesh beneath. I am making a pie, filling a deep, porcelain bowl with thick slices of mellow fruitfulness. The pie is a gift to my husband. I know from experience that no matter how well I handle the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon, it is the peach that makes the pie.

     These peaches are perfect.

     Perfect as the pulse of color in the ardent evening sky. Perfect as the kiss of sunshine on a child’s cheek. Perfect as the flame of summer as it burns into autumn. Perfect as the warm embrace of memory on a winter afternoon.

     From bud burst to blossom and burgeoning fruit these peaches were blessed. Long after the pie is consumed, I will be savoring the juice and joy of them.

post title from Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Friday, August 16, 2013

Imperial Visit

     Imperial visit. It conjures fascinating images doesn't it? But it was neither king nor queen nor any other such potentate who dropped by for a visit. It was Her Royal Majesty the Imperial Moth of the Order Lepidoptera.

     With her wings spread about her like sumptuous robes of embroidered velvet she alighted at our front door. Then she posed for our cameras with the intrinsic poise of those accustomed to high estate.

     Not a feeler flickered as we peered through our lenses and took her measure like a pack of paparazzi. With true noblesse oblige she left a gift when she departed...

...a clutch of golden eggs.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Street Shopping in Africa


     I had just finished changing the sheets on the bed and was washing up before going downstairs to start breakfast when the telephone rang. It was my husband. He had finished with his business for the day and was doing some shopping in Tanzania. He wanted help picking out some things for the grandkids, so I pulled out my computer and we Skyped our way through the market stalls of Arusha.

     I met a woman named Lillian who sold us a couple of scarves, headbands and a zebra carving, and let my husband take her picture. Asante sana, Lillian.

     You can read her philosophy of life on the sign above her stall.

Can buy bed, but not sleep
Books but not brain
Cosmetics but not beauty
Food but not appetite
Religion but not salvation
Luxuries but not culture
A passport to anywhere but not heaven

     Then we bought a painting from some young men who had spread their wares on hedges beside the road.

     My plan for that morning was to do some weeding and watering in my garden. Instead, I went virtual shopping in Africa. Maybe the next adventure will be hiking on Kilimanjaro. It is a brave new world we live in.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Conversation in the Car

“Those clouds are beautiful,” she said, gazing through the windshield. Whole mountain ranges of the cottonous vapors were cumulating in the summer sky.

“I’m hoping they’ll turn into something,” he replied.

“You mean like Mr. Potato Head? Or a horse with wings? Or a fairy castle?”

 “I was thinking rain,” he laughed, taking his eyes off the road to glance at her with affection, “but I am inspired by your imagination.”

She sighed with contentment, secure in the knowledge that she had chosen the right man to marry all those years ago.