Midsummer ~ In Medina

Evangeline’s Pool ~ Medina, Texas


primeval cypress
rooted in cool living shade
arcadian rest



The metallic drone of cicadas; desiccated and drooping crops; fish sinking toward cooler water even as rising temperatures slow life’s pace for body and mind: such is the arrival of midsummer on the Texas coast.

It’s a season suited for lighter fare, and so I’m offering a small series of images matched with poetry: tokens of a season I love.

Both the photo and haiku are mine.

Comments are welcome, always

77 thoughts on “Midsummer ~ In Medina

    1. During your time in the Atchafalaya, you not only experienced arcadian rest, but Acadian hospitality. No wonder your memories are so fine.

      Of course, Medina isn’t by any normal definition Acadian, but imagination can accomplish wondrous things: as it did the first time I saw these cypress. The pool is well-named.

    1. Thanks so much, Deborah. It’s good of you to stop by, and a little breath-taking to see all the changes in your life. I nearly died when I read about the 300 posts that went “poof!” but you’re clearly coping. See you soon.


    1. I wonder if it could be seen from the Medina low-water crossings? Perhaps, or perhaps not. Those branches are pretty thick. But it would have made a wonderful sight.

      Unfortunately, I just realized I missed tonight’s passage by nearly an hour. I got involved with other things, and forgot. I’ll watch your video another time or two, instead. Thanks!

      1. Watching the ISS pass while in a primordial swamp would be an interesting juxtaposition of times. More so than when my friend drove me to see the state’s largest photovoltaic facility near here. It is in the middle of Amish farm country north of Kalona. On one side of the gravel road was a farmer cutting alfalfa with a steel wheeled tractor. On the other side was a 10-15 acre PV array.

    1. To paraphrase an old saying, Becca: you can take the girl out of the hill country, but you can’t take the hill country out of the girl. Homesickness is just another way of remembering our treasures — happy remembering!

    1. Not in this spot, Gallivanta. At least, not in this spot, at this particular time. When I took this photo of the Medina river, the water ranged from ankle to knee-deep.

      In summer, the Medina tends toward shallowness, unless an event like a tropical storm floods it with rain. The kayakers who enjoy it often have to portage, so many people prefer rivers with higher flow — especially the Frio, which is, as its name suggests, nice and cold: though generally full of people floating along on inner tubes.

    1. It is a peaceful place in summer and early autumn, when the water grows shallow and slow. I’ve often stopped there, and sometimes started from there, as well. There’s a wonderful Aaron Neville song with lyrics that put it perfectly: “every stop, there’s a place to start.”

  1. Now THIS is a scene I can really relate to, although I’m missing the Spanish moss! Such a beautiful region, Linda. So calm! I had to look up Medina — I didn’t realize it was in the Hill Country. I didn’t spend near enough time there!! Lovely haiku, too!

    1. There is Spanish moss in Texas, Debbie, although most of it’s nearer the coast. In the Hill Country, you’re more likely to see ball moss, which I don’t consider particularly attractive. It’s actually a bromeliad, but that doesn’t leave me any more impressed with it.

      I think we need to enroll you in a remedial Texas course — with field trips, of course!

      1. Ooh, I’d LOVE that! I’m just itching to get back for a nice, long visit. I left so suddenly that I really didn’t get a chance to say proper good-byes to some special people, and since Domer is a “native Texan,” I’d love seeing his home through his eyes! Yes, field trips would be excellent!!

  2. Such a lovely quiet place. So Cajun, but it misses the drooping moss. There is an upscale area outside of Seattle called Medina, but to my knowledge no lovely pool or cypress or haiku. I hadn’t realized there was a place called Evangeline in LA.

    1. There’s not only a town called Evangeline, Kayti — there’s Evangeline Parish. And, in St. Martinville, Louisiana, there’s the Evangeline Oak, Evangeline Downs (a horse track), Evangeline Communications, the Evangeline Funeral Parlor, Evangeline Glass and Mirror… Longfellow would be proud. Maybe.

      What’s funny is that there isn’t anything at all Cajun about Medina, Texas, or the Medina River — until I put the name “Evangeline Pool” under the photo. I went back and forth between that and “Low Water Crossing ~ Medina, Texas,” but decided to stick with the more evocative title: just for my own pleasure.

    1. Indeed. Long ago, I wondered about the source of Medina’s name, since I associated it with Saudi Arabia. I was content then to accept that the river was named for a Spaniard named Medina, but now I wonder, since there was Moorish influence in Spain.

      It’s interesting to think that “medina” means town, and that a man named Medina might have given the river that name — only to have a town take the name, as well.

      If only the Evangel and Medina could co-exist so peacefully in the larger world

      1. As you indicated, the Arabs controlled all or part of what is now Spain from the 700s through the 1400s. During that long period, many Arabic words entered Spanish, and some became family names, like Medina. What I didn’t know until I looked in the American Heritage Dictionary just now is the ultimate origin of that word: “Arabic madīna, city, from Aramaic mədintā, mədinā, jurisdiction, district, from dān, to judge, administer.” So now you can add a Jewish connection to the Christian and Islamic ones.

        1. That’s really interesting. And, now that we’ve gotten into this, I have to mention one of my favorite Cuban foods: “Moros y Cristianos,” or black beans and rice. As far as I know, red beans and rice never were called “cowboys and Indians.”

  3. Now there is a nice pairing of words and picture, Linda. I can feel the summer morning..at least that’s my impression by the angular light and haze free air…and the sense that coolness lies below and not above.

    1. I’m glad you like it, Steve. It is a morning photo, though not early — about 10 a.m., I’d say. The spot is known as Freeman’s Crossing, and it’s one of the prettiest along TX16. There aren’t many places I know that deserve the poetic term “glade,” but this is one of them.

      Not only that, if you continue on along highway 16, you’ll come to the town of Medina, where you can get a fresh apple turnover or strudel and a good cup of coffee.

  4. This looks like a scene in the Rockies here in our country. Are those evergreens? I thought coniferous can only be found above certain latitudes, not so south. Love the photo/haiku combo. Hopefully not only in the summer. :)

    1. They’re not evergreen, Arti, but they are conifers. In the fall, they turn rusty, drop their needle-like leaves, and stand bare until spring. I have some photos of cypress in the fall in this post about the Frio River. Scroll down a little, and you’ll see them. It was a good year, and the color was vibrant.

      I just noticed last week that the cypress cones (often called cypress balls) are forming. Here’s what they look like.

      And, yes: we do have pines. In fact, East Texas often is referred to as “the piney woods.” Here’s a page that has maps showing the distribution of various species. When you add in the other conifers, like cypress, we’re woodsier than you’d think!

      I’m really glad you like this way of presenting words and images together. We’ll see what other seasons bring.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the series, Anne. As for more? We’ll see how it goes. I’ve never set out to write poems on purpose. It’s just that something gets triggered, and a more formally poetic form seems right. It’s as though the content demands a certain form. (Don’t ask me to explain that, because I can’t!)

    1. With any luck, the fog and clouds you have forecast for the next few days will materialize and provide some relief. I’m sure all of you are a little heat-grumpy by this time. No Liberty Hall these days, I suspect!

    1. At this time of year, it’s a perfect spot, Mary. It’s nice and cool for those who are too hot, and warm and inviting for those who are too cold — like those of you living through a different season. And, as you imply, the good news is that there are similar spots all around us — if only we take advantage of them.

  5. I shall be sorry when these end as they are so beautiful and meditative….once again a stunning Haiku which matches such an awesome image…correct use of the word awesome here too…inspiring awe!xxx

    1. Oh, I love that, snowbird — that you found my Haiku awesome: in the right sense of the word! I have one more, but it turned itself into a late-summer piece, so I’ll just tuck it away for a while.

      I enjoy these, too, but I do try to vary my entries, since I understand that different people enjoy different things. And of course, I have my own little stack of things waiting to be written about: a big ol’ rock in Kansas, my parents’ wedding china, a night all by myself in a deserted fort… I think you’ll find something to enjoy in there, too!

    1. Well, sometimes we have to hurry, Mother Hen, but not nearly so often as we think. Just tonight, the male cardinal who’s been lurking about showed up at the feeder with a newly-fledged baby in tow. I sat and watched him feed it shelled sunflower for a good while. The dishes aren’t done yet, but who cares?

    1. It’s a fact that the Frio, the San Marcos, and the Guadalupe are like the Gulf Freeway during the height of summer. I don’t begrudge them their fun, but I’m too old for the crowd that ties combination beer coolers and boom boxes to their tubes and shrieks their way down the river. The weather’s just as nice after school starts, and the rivers still run in the middle of the week.

  6. Perhaps in some future post (assuming you haven’t done so already) you’ll explain how a place in Texas came to have the name “Medina.”

    1. That doesn’t take a post, Bill, although the story is interesting enough for one.

      The town of Medina was named after the Medina River. The Medina River was named by Alonso De León, governor of Coahuila, who led an expedition across Texas in 1689.

      The “Handbook of Texas Online” says, “De León noted in his diary that he named the stream for Pedro Medina, the early Spanish engineer whose navigation tables he was using in mapping his route through the wilderness with an astrolabe.”

      Now — there’s one more step. Because of the importance of Medina to Islam, I was curious about any Moorish influence on that Spanish engineer’s name. Steve Schwartzman, in a comment up-page, added this:

      “As you indicated, the Arabs controlled all or part of what is now Spain from the 700s through the 1400s. During that long period, many Arabic words entered Spanish, and some became family names, like Medina.

      What I didn’t know until I looked in the American Heritage Dictionary just now is the ultimate origin of that word: “Arabic madīna, city, from Aramaic mədintā, mədinā, jurisdiction, district, from dān, to judge, administer.” So now you can add a Jewish connection to the Christian and Islamic ones.”

      How about that?

      1. Fascinating. I hadn’t considered the possibility that “Medina” had entered into Spain/Spanish through the Moors. Interesting enough to warrant a post on TTAH. :) Thanks for sharing the info.

    1. I enjoy the coastal plains, but there’s something about flowing water and trees that’s pure pleasure. I’m sure that’s part of what you enjoy about the lake, too. Water and trees is an unbeatable combination — especially if the mosquitoes have gone elsewhere!

    1. You’ve raised an interesting question, Allen. I’m not sure why I think of haiku as “lighter fare.” I suspect it has something to do with the fact that, at least in their beginnings, they tend to arise spontaneously and are easy to write. I’ve never thought, “I’m going to write a haiku about this or that.” Instead, one comes along, I shape and reshape it, and there it is.

      Beyond that, it’s been so hot here for so long that lighter clothes, lighter meals and desserts, and lighter activity are on everyone’s mind. Maybe it’s just that simple. Haiku are the cold watermelon that can be cut open and enjoyed, rather than the pie that takes effort to make and heats up the kitchen!

      1. That makes sense. I was thinking about the word “simple,” knowing that simplicity is an art that takes practice. But I am also a bit nervous about that since simple carries a very negative connotation for many. Haiku as watermelon vs pie works well!

        1. “Simple” as a negative? Is that political correctness I see? Any word that’s good enough for Thoreau (“Simplify, simplify…”), generations of Shakers (the song “Simple Gifts”) and a goodly clutch of spiritual guides who counsel simplicity of spirit is good enough for me.

          I think we have to be careful about throwing in with the language police. If a word I choose offends someone, that’s their problem, not mine. Of course there are words I prefer not to use, and they’ll never show up in my writing. But words condemned on the basis of simple prejudice? Spare me.

          I’m spouting off just a bit because I’m still riled from hearing this morning that there was a move in Winston-Salem to change the name of their Dixie Classic Fair: “Dixie” presumably being racist, or something. Whatever they do in Winston-Salem, I’m not changing the name of my cat. Dixie Rose is a good southern name, and that’s that!

          If you haven’t come across it, this article is spot-on. Called “The Coddling of the American Mind,” it’s co-authored by Jonathan Haidt, who wrote “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.” The book’s another good read, and one I suspect you’d be recommending to others.

          1. Thanks for this! First, I strongly advise against changing your cat’s name. But I suspect you do not need my encouragement in that. This is a fascinating article that reflects to a degree some of what happens north of the border as well. It seems that in some instances helicopter parents have inspired institutions. As for “simple,” I really wasn’t worrying about being PC, but simply (!) mindful that definitions of simple include “silly, feeble-minded, and insignificant.” I’ve been mulling over “stark” today, which has the happy coincidence of meaning “strong” in German.

            1. I just was looking at the etymology of “stark,” and found that “stark-raving” dates from 1640. The “starkness” of the landscape, in the sense of being bare, or barren, dates even earlier.

              Now that you mention those other definitions, I’m reminded of another word I haven’t heard in a long time: “simpleton.” When I was a kid, the admonition, “Don’t be a simpleton!” was quite common. Now, it seems to have disappeared — perhaps for the reasons you suggested.

    1. Texas is such a large state that we have a wide variety of landscapes: beaches, pine forests, mountains, prairie, and, yes, even the desert-like western and southwestern areas. And of course there’s the Panhandle, which is noted for being hot and flat.

      But the hill country is my favorite: creeks, limestone cliffs, and beautiful wildflowers and trees. I’m glad you enjoyed the words and image here. It’s one of my favorite spots in the state.

  7. Many years ago my husband took our little family on a trip and we drove to Medina. It is one of my most favorite places. The river and the creeks and the food is the best ever.

    The cypress trees are being used as landscape trees now and I really like them in different parts of town.

    I adore your photo- excellent.

    1. This is one of my favorite photos, Yvonne. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of my favorite spots ever.

      They’re usng the cypress trees more in our landscapes, too, and I really like it. For one thing, they give us a bit of autumn color — different from the wild reds, yellows and oranges of the midwest and northeast, but still very pretty, and better than nothing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.