The Coastal Dwellers’ Lament

A preview of things to come 

Sumer is icumen in, and faint eddies of ambivalence have begun to swirl along the Texas coast.

We love our summers, but despite the season’s delights, we know we’ll soon enough become limp and bedraggled as this poor prickly poppy.

Since we can’t do a thing to change the coming heat and humidity, it’s best to find some ways to cope. Humor always helps, so what could be better than a little tongue-in-cheek tribute to our annual tribulation?

 

Now
comes the
summer of
our discontent;
stalking and sliding
down slick, flattened grasses;
silently digging through wind
rippled dunes; sighing and dripping
sharp, salt-laden dross onto springtime —
that delicate season, long hoped-for, now doomed.

 

Comments always are welcome.
For more information on the Etheree, a syllabic poem that, in its basic form, contains ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, please click here.

113 thoughts on “The Coastal Dwellers’ Lament

  1. I don’t know what the technical term is for poems like this that deliver a visual punch along with the words, but I’ve always been fond of them. Well done!

    As for looking forward to summer, I fear it’s never going to come to Michigan this year.

    1. I’m not sure what the general term would be for a poem’s visual form on a page. It’s interesting that it was only after the movement from generally spoken verse to written that it became an issue. There may have been some who arranged things differently prior to e.e. cummings, but I still remember how strange his disconnected syllables and words seemed to us. At least the etheree has a form — as do sonnets, or haiku.

      I hope when your summer comes it gives you a period of lovely weather. We can’t really grump, since we had an extended and lovely spring. But of course we do grump, because our wish to have it go on forever wasn’t granted.

  2. Good morning, Linda,
    Oh yes, (South) Texas summers: a boon and a bane at the same time! Do I say Mary and I are lucky not to be there just now? Well, here [just now in Hendersonville/NC] it’s more pleasant, definitely. But we have chances of thunderstorms, and that’s not too good for our plans of bicycling.

    Luckily, in the last few days, St. Peter doesn’t seem to have read the forecast, and we had lovely days, with rain, if so, late in the day. We’ll have to see, though, what today brings. We’re planning to drive to Greenvile/SC, for me to do the Swamp Rabbit Trail there, and there could be showers [no thunderstorms, though, until possibly in the late afternoon] even before noon. We’ll see and take it as it comes.
    Take care, and enjoy the coast, even if “sumer is icumen in”,
    Pit & Mary

    1. You certainly have avoided some heat. I talked with a friend in Kerrville today who said in town it was 94, and at her place it hit 97. Triple digits lurk. On the other hand, I hear there’s a tropical critter down there in the eastern Gulf that may throw a good bit of rain your direction. I hope it doesn’t — for the residents’ sake as well as yours.

      It did swing from spring to summer more quickly than usual this year. The good news is that the wind finally is laying. Of course, that’s the bad news, too.

      Safe travels — please greet Mary for me.

      1. Goos morning, Linda,
        It sure is hot in the Hill Country. And, as we got to know yesterday, it’ll get even hotter: into the low 3-digits next week. I can’t say I’ll regret missing that.
        You take care, too.
        Best,
        Pit
        P.S.: Mary says hello, too.

  3. You, my friend, are incredibly witty! I hope I won’t feel this way — it’s not quite so hot and sticky here as where you are, and I have vowed after last winter I will not complain if it is! But you never know. I love this!

    1. We all complain, don’t we? Winter’s too long, summer’s too hot, there’s too much snow, or rain — or, in the case of Hawaii, lava. I suppose that’s not precisely a weather event, but it certainly is as capricious as the weather, and there’s not much that can be done about it.

      In truth,most of us will be happy if we manage to escape storms this season. As bad as heat and humidity can be, they’re much worse after a hurricane, while everyone is waiting for the power to be restored. I read not long ago that parts of Puerto Rico still are waiting — such a difficult situation.

    1. It’s true. By August, even the sailors abandon this hot and sultry shore and head off to somwhere else: mouintains anywhere are favorites.

      Our urban heat islands make a difference, of course, but reading the journals and letters of the earliest Texans makes clear that it wasn’t much fun even before the arrival of concrete and steel.

    1. At least we’re getting some rain, and I hope you are, too. Being hot is one thing, but enduring another drought is something I’d rather not do. I did finally repot several cactus pieces I’ve had lying around. If nothing else, they should florish in these conditions.

  4. It seems so funny to me, northerners lamenting the beginning of summer, because we tend to think we have the really hot summers here in Australia. Of course we don’t- it’s becoming more evident to me as I meet more people through blogging. We are just beginning to get frosts here. I love summer here because it isn’t humid. What I don’t like is the lack of rain.

    1. Clearly, you have equally hot summers, but that lower humidity is something I’d cherish. Around here, people talk about 90/90 days — ninety degrees, with ninety percent humidity. It’s not much fun.

      Until I started blogging, I didn’t realize how serious and frequent your bush fires can be. Hot and dry obviously lead to the same unhappy result in both our worlds. It’s hard to imagine you’re seeing frost — but I still have occasional difficulty with this northern/southern hemisphere thing!

      1. We are nearly 300 km from the coast and 500m above sea level which is why we don’t have a lot of humidity for which I’m very grateful. On the coast it’s a different story. We lived in Sydney for a long time and summer can be very humid there.

  5. Oh, yeah, here it comes! We’re luxuriating in lots of rain up here, and now my puppy and I have lots of pools to play in….but so do the mosquito larvae. That will be fun. Your poem brought a grin to my heart.

    1. I can’t think of anything more fun than frolicking in puddles with a puppy — what kind do you have? You surely have written about him (her?) but I don’t remember reading about the breed. Even though I tend to prefer cats to dogs, there’s no way in the world I can resist a cute puppy.

      It’s been a strange year here for the mosquitoes. We had a couple of weeks when they were just terrible: coming in great swarms. Then, they disappeared, and haven’t been back. I hope your luck with them is as good!

      1. I completely lose track of the fact that I’m well into my 50’s when we’re playing. Pete is a westie. He’d look like the dog in the Caesar commercial if I’d give him a haircut but I prefer him looking like a wild child. His coat is magic~he can get himself absolutely black playing in the dirt, and an hour later he’s all white again. If only I could teach my house to do that….

        That is great that your mosquitoes disappeared. Wow! You must have healthy populations of dragonflies and bats. I just put out some mosquito dunks in the rain garden. In theory it is supposed to drain within an hour or two but it never does.

        1. That’s right. Now I remember you saying that he’s a Westie. I have a hard time remembering the names of all the breeds: especially the ones that have become more popular in recent years. The Caesar commercial’s one I do know, so that helps me envision Pete.

          I suspect that the swallows have done their part to control mosquitoes, too. We’ve had additional rain, so more may be getting ready to take flight. Your rain garden sounds interesting. There are more and more of those being installed here, even very small ones on small lots. I haven’t been over to see the one at a local park; I need to do that.

          1. Oh yes, and swallows.
            I haven’t really designed mine correctly. It shouldn’t hold water. If it ever dries out back there this summer I intend to dig it bigger but then put in a lot of compost to act as a sponge. It is a bit tricky to plant a rain garden because, here at least, it dries out completely so a plant has to be ok with inundation all the way to drought conditions.

  6. Another fun etheree from your hand, Linda. Weather ,,. what can we do. Either it’s too hot or too damp. Or too cold or too dry. We just have to fine a way to live with it, don’t we. :-)

    1. Well, Otto — if I could do something about the weather, I’d patent the process, make a few hundred million dollars, and set my friends up for life. Would you like a couple hundred scholarships for your workshops? A hand-crafted wooden kayak? A private jet to get you to shoot locations? Just let me know!

  7. Minnesota winter is God’s way of saying, “if you guys wouldn’t complain so much about the heat and humidity of August, I wouldn’t have to give you so much of what you pray for.”

  8. Splendid Etheree!! We’re already facing some of these summer doldrums — expecting 90s this weekend when 70s would be more average. Somehow, we missed out on Spring entirely. Those of us in landlocked regions have to find other ways to stay cool, too (at least you’re near all that water!) Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thanks, Debbie. Too bad we can’t turn some of these etherees into cooling, ethereal breezes. We had weeks of strong winds, but now they’re dying away, and doldrums is a perfect description of what’s developing. As one of my sailing students used to say when the wind died, “We be calmed.” The more I laughed, the more often he said it, even after he found out that becalmed is one word.

  9. The “summer of our discontent”… how wonderfully worded. My season of hibernation inside, as the temperature passes into triple digits on a regular basis.

    I hope you’ve been seeing some of these rain showers over your way, Linda. The browns that were showing up in my yard, are already tending back towards green.

    1. I have to give credit where credit is due — to the good William Shakespeare, whose line from Richard III — “Now is the winter of our discontent” — apparently lodged itself in my mind. Still, it was fun to play with and expand upon the line. And, yes: hibernation’s a good coping mechanism. So is scheduling work on boats that live underneath sheds.

      We had some decent rains both Wednesday and yesterday. The totals varied, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t get at least a couple of inches. I know there was quite a bit more over in Friendswood and Pearland.

  10. Excellent! I was taken aback by that photo, poor thing, opened up “a real daisy” but it rues the day the bugs arrived. It’s like the Maginot Line or the battleships at Pearl Harbor, you can be defensive & prickly as anything, and something else will come along to get ya. Excellent poem, “salt-laden dross” is memorable, too. I like the word “etheree,” too, a fun term, reminds me of “shivaree,” in NY in the old days, where they used to serenade newlyweds with pots & pans, etc.

    1. Robert, Shivaree made it at least as far west as Ohio, where I encountered it as a kid. My grandfather and grandmother were, um, serenaded with a shivaree on their wedding night in the early ’20s. I’ve never looked into the word, but now I will. Thanks.

      1. Hi Brad – after I wrote that, my mom mentioned she learned about it from “Oklahoma!” So I guess it is, or was, a nationwide thing, like tying tin cans to the bumper of the newlyweds’ car. My folks thought they’d hidden their car pretty carefully, but their friends found it anyway and “decorated” it.

        1. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry. A long history, much of it related to forms of protest against wrongdoing, and wedding shivarees get little mention. The Oklahoma! occurrence gets a mention.

          1. Check out charivari, too. It’s interesting that the Online Etymology Dictionary links the southern US and Cornwall as places where shivaree is common.

      2. The etymology’s interesting, and the practice made it even farther west, to Iowa. I’ve got a 700 page history of my parents’ and grandparents’ little Iowa town, and it includes a lot of newspaper clippings. I know I’ve read in that book of shivarees, and I heard about them from my folks.

    2. On the other hand, think how happy those bugs were. Those petals must have been tasty, and if you’re a small enough creature to move in despite the thorns, it’s game on.

      I had to ponder dross for a while before deciding it was the right word, and I think it worked well. I’m glad you enjoyed it. As for shivaree, I’ve heard tales of such from old-time Iowa. As someone once said, the best reason to leave town for a honeymoon is to get away from the neighbors. Of course, eventually you have to come home, and I’m not sure there’s a statute of limitations on shivarees.

      1. I also thought “dross” worked well, because it’s similar to “floss” in the sense of “fluffy fibrous material,” which might work for floating plant material and seeds. I grew up hearing “dreck,” with a similar meaning to dross, but I think more “earthy” in sound and meaning.

  11. The
    Poem
    Etheree
    Previously
    Was unknown to me.
    But syllable counting
    Ain’t so freeing as daunting.
    Though I try assiduously
    I fear my measuring syllables
    Reads more like I’m adding up billables.

    1. I’d say you did just fine, with a dollop of your characteristic humor added in for good measure. When I first started working with the form, it was all about counting syllables, but the results weren’t particularly poetic. Like a haiku that’s only a matter of syllables, something was missing. Eventually, a little internal rhyme, a bit of rhythm, andthe realization that I could wrap lines made a difference.

  12. It
    Is with
    Great joy that
    I receive your
    Imaginative
    Blogs, every word crafted
    To tickle my ear and mind,
    Causing my eyes and mouth to smile.
    So once again I post a comment
    To thank you for the times you share with me.

    1. Both the sentiment and the perfect form are delightful, Carrie! And there’s nothing like a smile that shines from the eyes as well as the mouth — I’m glad the poem brought you pleasure. Yours certainly is equally pleasurable. Thank you.

    1. I’ve always known you were a wise woman, Friko, and you just proved it again. Our spring and autumn are lovely, and winter’s more than bearable, but summer? It has its pleasures, but it can tend to drag, and August reminds some people of Paris during that month. Not everyone can escape, but those who can, do. (I’ll deal with that “you” for you, too.)

    1. Well, even when bedragglement isn’t precisely beautiful, it’s interesting. There’s always a story behind a flower like this, starting with the question of who, precisely, showed up to wreak havoc. I do get a kick out of the etheree form; I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    1. There’s nothing more fun than weather one-upsmanship. For example: “You think your winter’s are bad? You ought to live through one of our heat waves (hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.). It’s such a human tendency. It does help to relieve some frustration, I suppose, and it’s always a great conversation starter.

      Enjoy your weekend. I suspect you’ll have a few visitors down there.

    1. Don’t you think springtime and fall appeal more because they’re so filled with movement and change? It may be growth, and it may be decay, but there’s a process to watch and enjoy. Both winter and summer can turn into “just more of the same.”. Of course there are changes, but they’re more subtle, and many of us aren’t as attentive to subtle.

  13. A lament indeed – well done! Our springs quickly turn into summers here on the coast. Loved the shape of the poem but had never heard of the form. Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend as folks flock to our coast. Cheers!

    1. I’ll be far away from the coast this weekend. Even if it were 75 degrees with light winds and low humidity, I’ll put off a beach visit until the crowds have thinned. The last beach holiday I took was July 4 at Matagorda, and believe me — memorable as those jacked-up trucks and boom boxes were, it’s not my way of celebrating.

      I do enjoy the form, and will be writing a bit more about its history, and the woman who devised it. In a way, any poetic form resembles a vase; the final effect depends on what you put into it.

    1. Shade and lemonade always were two dependable ways to deal with summer heat. They might not have been as effective as air conditioning, but if you took your escape under a tree, you could listen to the bees in the hollyhocks. Later, there would be cicadas. As coping goes, it wasn’t bad — I’ll bet you hve some of those same delights in your new location.

    1. I just looked at the path of our first tropical stiorm of the year, and it’s possible it might throw some rain your way. I hope so. Texas is getting rain now, although it’s far from statewide. Still, the pattern seems to be changing. Hot and dry’s ok, but hot with enough rain to keep the crops and the native plants happy is even better.

  14. Ah, the truth of summer. The wildflowers are already looking spent here too. We are very hot and humid… and those darned musk thistle are already blooming and we didn’t get them dug up fast enough before the heat made the earth hard as a rock again. No sign of rain in the next ten days either.

    1. Isn’t it a shame that those musk thistles are such a pain when they’re so beautiful? I read somewhere that if it’s impossible to dig them all, cutting and bagging the flowers heads before they go to seed is the next best thing. Have you ever tried that, or do you know anything about it?

      The eastern half of your state seems to have fared better when it comes to rain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Oklahoma look so lush and green, and the wildflowers were everywhere from Paris up to Muskogee. Because of time constraints yesterday, I couldn’t stop, but I saw plenty of pink, purple, and white flowers that didn’t look familiar. More exploration is required!

      1. Since the thistle has flowered, now we must try cutting the flowers and bagging them. What a daunting task. But we will do what we can. It hasn’t helped that it’s already hot and the wind has been nil lately. But, it is a healthy detox – I keep an old thermos of ice water handy!

        Eastern Oklahoma has benefitted from many rains. So far this spring we’ve had just over two inches of rain… and that after six- months of nothing. We are no longer in a burn ban, but this winter’s dry conditions sure put the squeeze on my ability to clean the orchard and burn. Somehow, wildflowers manage to pop up even in these dry conditions! I wish I was that tough and resilient!

  15. Beautiful choir Linda ‘of Sumer is Icumen in’, thanks. I love your poem, and I can relate to it so well, I, for being someone who comes from a perpetually hot island all rear ’round. It’s normal for me, but your image bears a vivid visual testimony of the way it seems to happen here in the US.

    1. Isn’t that a nice version of the song? I always enjoyed singing rounds when at camp; I suspect that’s part of the reason it appealed to me the first time I heard it.

      I remember how strange living in a perpetually hot climate seemed. Tracking changes depended on other cues: like rainy season / dry season, I’m not sure how it is in Florida, but on the Texas coast there’s also a sub-category of summer called hurricane season. You’re getting the first taste of that this year, as Alberto’s showed up on your doorstep. It’s a shame so many people’s holidays will be affected.

      1. There’s a rainy season here also which is beginning now, but it’s unlike the one in the Caribbean. It’s full of thunderstorms. I read about it and it has to do with Florida being a Peninsula.
        “Why Florida Experiences More Thunderstorms Than Other States?

        -Florida is located close to large bodies of water that provide moisture.
        -Florida receives plenty of sunlight which warms the air near the ground and causes unstable air.
        -Florida has frequent sea breezes that provide lift for thunderstorms.

        Even PR was not like this.

    1. Apparently so, since multiple readings-aloud and syllable counts always added up to ten. Two solutions suggest themselves: taking the o’er route for delicate, or substituting another phrase, like sweetest of seasons. I’ll muse over it.

  16. Thanks for the chuckle. I have been bouncing about a bit, just last week on the east coast with some cool weather, and now in Saskatchewan, where the heat produced a thunderstorm with a bit of hail. Weather is all over the place and when it is paired with jet lag it can leave your head spinning. Thanks for grounding me a bit!!

    1. I talked wtih a friend in Houston last night who also experienced one of those heat-generated severe thunderstorms. The forecasters who hadn’t forecast such a possibility were on social media, full of apologies. The truth is, these things happen, and weather forecasting still is an inexact science despite our wishes that not be so.

      I didn’t experience the storms because I’m in Kansas City. Photographic subjects for the day will include robins and pussy willows — it’s Spring, redivivus.

  17. A triplet of gems here Linda. Loved the music! Long been a fan of the Hilliard Ensemble but not familiar with this particular gem. Poppies regardless of how bedraggled they appear, are still utterly beguiling to me. And lastly, but certainly not least, is your wonderful way with words once more.
    Joy today, because it rained! Enough to give me some drinking water once more, and refresh the ground, yet much much more is needed to end this long summer and autumn…..

    1. Thank you, times three, eremophila! I just couldn’t resist adding the song — such a lilting, happy tune. And you’re right that poppies of any sort, in any state, can’t help but delight. I do love it when words and images compliment one another. When music can be thrown into the mix, it’s even better.

      We’ve had some rain, too — at least, Texas has had rain. I’ve been visiting family in Kansas City, and am heading back tomorrow, with a stop or two along the way. There’s a chance I’ll run into even more rain, but everyone needs it (at least in our part of the country) so I’ll not fuss. I hope your season’s change brings additional rain — droughts are difficult beyond words.

  18. Beautiful – The poem is wonderful and I absolutely love the photo. You made a bedraggled flower look beautiful. I almost never see pictures of flowers past their prime which makes this photo really special. The heat is just now arriving here – and so far I’m really enjoying it. The winter was soooo long this year. But I know that it won’t be long until I’m complaining about the heat.

    1. Those Kansas trees were beautiful — I’d resigned myself to not seeing much (if any) color during that fall trip, but these certainly made up for a lot of dry and brown. I’m glad you like the poppy, too. Age and experiences affect the flowers as much as they affect us, and I’ve come to enjoy seeing those effects, and pondering what might have been their cause.

      I know it was a long, cold winter, and I’m glad that things finally are moderating. I hope your Memorial Day was a good one, and that the weather didn’t interfere with celebrations.

      1. I like the idea of pondering the experiences of flowers. Your response to my comment makes me realize that I should look more carefully at flowers, and appreciate each one -flaws and all.

  19. I know exactly what you mean, though our summers are not as fierce as yours. Today is in the low 90s. I have to come inside to recover after every 30 minutes in the garden.

    1. After spending some time yesterday and today exploring the Burr Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs, Missouri, I have plenty of sympathy for you. I’d forgotten how hot and humid it can be here. While it’s been fun seeing the robins and some lingering pussy willows, it’s pretty clear that summer’s coming to the midwest, too. Thirty minutes can be more than enough in these conditions.

  20. Reading those first few lines I recalled ‘The Winter of our discontent’ by Steinbeck that I must have read about 55 years ago. We’ve been going through another bout of unseasonably warm weather over here in the UK – high seventies fahrenheit (I still think of temperature in ‘F’ rather than ‘C’ mode). Not hot by your standards, but just a few days of our ‘heat’ these days is enough to set off thunderstorms and colossal rain in some places with inevitable flash flooding. We have had no rain at all – it’s a lottery. The forecast remains unchanged so now I’ve put pen to paper no doubt we will be hit by a storm!

    1. I didn’t realize until I refreshed my memory of Steinbeck’s plot that The Winter of Our Discontent was his last novel. Shakespeare to Steinbeck to sultry coastal summers — that’s quite a journey.

      When you’re not used to it, even the seventies can be uncomfortable, and you’re certainly right that those temperatures are high enough to create some havoc. The temperature we keep an eye on is the water temperature in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Above 85F, and you’re moving toward conditions favorable for tropical storms or hurricanes. We don’t want that any more than you want flooding from thunderstorms — here’s to placid weather for at least a time.

  21. I’m thinking of your poem’s shape as a pine tree or a sail, both of which conjure up cooler temps than what we are experiencing right now! Summer isn’t just icumen; I think it’s here!

    1. It’s settling in; there’s no question about that. I came up to Kansas City to visit relatives and friends over the long weekend, and I can guarantee you summer’s got a grip on this area as well. I’ll be heading home tomorrow, but a little casually, hoping time in the Ouachitas might provide some refreshment. But I’m not putting a single dollar on it.

      1. Will you get as far east as Hot Springs? Last time we were in Arkansas, we spent hours in a place called Garvan Woodland Gardens, which I think you would love!

        1. No, this will be a very short trip. The primary purpose was to come, visit, and leave. But I do have a destination in mnd for the return trip: one at the very western edge of the state that I only learned about by looking at an old map. And there’s a new Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at Crystal Bridges, so: of course!

  22. I loved this poem and the ragged poppy that spoke a thousand wilted, worse for wear and tear words! I can’t cope with really hot weather, I love escaping the winter here but struggle in tropical climes when away. We hit 23 today and I was out of my depth! You get the cold and the heat…oh my!!!xxx

    1. If there were such a thing as a rescue place for flowers, this one would be a candidate, don’t you think? Too bad that flowers can’t be healed and given new life — although plants certainly can be.

      People say that age makes a difference when it comes to heat or cold tolerance, and I’ve found that to be true. Location makes a difference, too. Summer in the country just feels better than summer in the city, with all that concrete and steel. But we cope. Thank goodness for trees, and the blessed shade they give!

    1. Well, you know that if the School for Poets had a team — sports or otherwise — one of their cheers would be, “Two, Four, Six, Eight — Everyone Alliterate!”

      For a while, I thought this one was unnecessarily gloomy, and wasn’t going to turn into anything at all. But, it finally did, and I’m glad you like it.

  23. And then there is Montana which I’m wondering if summer will ever really come to this year! The snow is gone except high in the mountains, but we have been having a lot of rain, and are threatened in several areas by flooding. Give me your sunshine!

    1. I imagine that Montana’s much like Texas; it’s so large that conditions can vary greatly by distance AND by altitude. I follow a blogger who posts photos of Montana wildflowers, but he’s in the mountains, and spends most of his time there rather than in a valley or plain. It’s really interesting to watch his seasons change.

      I didn’t realize you’d had excess rain. I’d be happy to send some sunshine, but I’m not certain you’re ready for our heat. It feels like August out there!

  24. It looks like that poor poppy had also been plundered by a few voracious insects, Linda. As for the heat and humidity, it appears that it has once again been joined by high winds and heavy downpours in the South. Or, as King Lear put it:
    Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
    You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
    Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

    I, too, am keeping a close eye on the weather since I will be out living in it for three months. Have the snows melted enough to allow passage? How will I cope with the section where there is 30 miles without water? The questions continue, but I doubt very seriously that humidity will be a problem, just heat. –Curt

    1. The heat is the issue here. I’m in Arkansas right now, having made a quick trip to Kansas City over Memorial Day. I’d hoped for some relatively cool weather in the mountains, but it’s not to be. I hope you don’t run into conditions like this. Heat, humidity, and hiking aren’t the best combination, for sure.

      You’re right about the insects, of course. These poppies often are nibbled and munched. I don’t know how they’d do in one of our salads, but they must taste great to the bugs.

      1. Heat for sure this summer, Linda. It goes with the territory. Best way around that is to start early, getting up before dawn and finishing early afternoon. Some areas have really limited water, which worries me more.
        Interesting thing about poppies, at least in our neck of the woods, deer don’t eat them. We have a bunch growing on our hillside. They have been happily blooming away for a couple of months. Just above them, we have a very thorny rose bush, which the deer munch away on happily, thorns and all. –Curt

        1. Deer are such funny creatures. They’ll cruise right through a stand of camellias, but ignore the azaleas planted next to them. After your mention. of the poppies, I called a friend who has fields of them up in the hill country, and she said the same thing. The poppies are the one thing she can count on keeping.

          Things are just as hot in Arkansas as in Texas right now — I hope to goodness you don’t have to deal wtih such heat. I know you’re smart and experienced, but take extra care. Like you, I understand getting up early and staying late for my work, but that’s no guarantee that the nausea and such won’t show up. And you won’t have AC to help you out. Maybe I’ll see if the weather gods might send a little coolth the area you’ll be trekking through.

          1. There is a section I am worried about, Linda in the southern Cascades where it is known for its heat and lack of water. I’ll be carrying extra water, hitting the trail at dawn, and quitting in early afternoon. No traveling late!
            Our deer become less picky as their food becomes more scarce, but even then, poppies and lavender are not on the menu. They do, however, spend a lot more time eyeing our fenced in plants. The 8-foot fence is just a little too high, however. –Curt

    1. As Ron White used to say, Texas has five seasons: summer, hurricane, allergy, deer, and dove. I suppose the list could be adjusted (to include football, for example) but there’s a lot of truth in that. We had a marvelous spring this year, but the door slammed shut with a vengeance.

  25. We’re in our second week of 100+ F days. Yesterday’s high was 105F. If we up here had the humidity you have down there, we’d be parboiled about now, instead of just broiled. Very early in the year here to be having a heat wave. It usually waits at least until June. If this is what May is going to be like, I shudder to even think about August.

    Tomorrow’s high is predicted to be 107F with 34% humidity. We get two days off over the weekend, then it’s going to be over 100 F for the next 11 days (all that’s visible on the 10-day forecast) with humidity of 34% and below. My electric bill is going to be higher than girafe’s ears.

    1. Foolish me thought it would be somewhat cooler and drier “up north,” but not so. On the other hand, you certainly do have it tougher than we do in the temperature department. All I know for certain is that my plants are going to be gasping for water when I get home. It’s a good thing I’ve moved to mostly cacti.

      I haven’t had the courage to check the sea surface temperatures yet. Since The Season starts tomorrow, I suppose it’s time to pay attention.

  26. I am sorry but I have not been getting notices of blogs that I follow. I looked at my Dashboard and it all looked ok Then I clicked on your “lag” blog and managed to delete it. Now I’ll need to subscribe again. Maybe things are going to spam. At any rate that poor prickly poppy looks about the way I feel after being in the sun for more that 5-7 minutes.

    1. I’ve had. a couple of people who’ve had to resubscribe, Yvonne. At least it worked for them — I hope it does for you. I just looked at the Houston forecast, and it certainly isn’t going to be fresh and invigorating. If you’re good for five to seven minutes, you’re about on a par with the rest of us, I’d say. I talked to an Arkansas plant grower yesterday who said this past week he’s been starting work at 5 a.m., and then hanging it up between about 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Smart man.

  27. What a delightful visually, in more ways than one, descriptive poem this is! Oh, we have to have all these variations the seasons give us to appreciate the differences in each. If only, differences in people was more valued by all.

    1. One of the interesting aspects of my time in California was the beautiful weather. There were times when the day-after-day blue skies and mild temperatures were almost boring. Sometimes I’d find myself wishing for a storm, or even for some clouds, just to vary things a bit. It is the variation that makes things interesting from day to day and season to season, and you’re exactly right: variation in human personalities and cultures does make thing interesting.

      1. I often astound others when I tell them I look forward to May Gray and June Gloom weather as I tire of the incessant sunshine in our part of Southern California. I miss the more pronounced seasons I knew in Ohio, especially Fall and Indian Summer. That said, this California weather, overall, year ’round, is my preference at this stage in my life.

  28. Ha! After reading yours (and others’) descriptions of the heat+humidity, I will take my “boring” cool 65-75 degree days. I open my door at night and breathe in the cool air. I went down to AZ to close up our little house at the end of May. The AC units in the neighborhood are buzzing like grasshoppers. Noisy, noisy, noisy. Even though California is full of crackerheads and traffic, the weather is heaven.

    1. There was a little discussion about California weather here tonight. The consensus was that even though those strings of unbearably beautiful days can become a little tedious, tedious isn’t all bad when compared to this August-in-June that we have right now. I’m not sure whether to be amused or to despair over the fact that our low of 80 is higher than your high of 75, but as the old saying goes, “It’s ours, so we’ll learn to love it.” Maybe.

      As for ACs buzzing like grasshoppers, you’ve reminded me of a summer haiku I wrote some years ago:

      cicadas thrumming
      summer’s white noise droning on
      silence of the trees

      I still like that.

      1. I like that haiku as well! I’m trying to be content in California right now. It’s easy for all of our friends who are old timers, who were born here, who have left here (many) to continuously trash the state. My husband does this all the time. Since I am living here now, I am willing myself to be grateful for the good things about California…the ocean, the weather, the food, so many things to praise. Having just said that, we met with our accountant this morning…back to trashing California and the unbearably high taxes we pay for all of the aforementioned pleasantries.

        1. In a way, the need to carefully pick one’s way around various forms of unpleasantness in the streets of San Francisco is a perfect metaphor for life in the state these days. There certainly have been changes over the years. I’m aware that my desire to revisit the area’s not quite as sharp as it once was. Of course there still are the beauties, natural and otherwise, and other pleasures. Still, loss is loss, and it comes in many forms.

  29. Poor tattered poppy, but the flower center is perfect and untouched. Makes a great image. Never heard of an etheree before. The summer is fitful here in New England, 50s and rainy lately, sporadically warm.

    1. The etherees are fun. An Arkansas woman who happened to be named Etheree (Etheree Taylor Armstrong) devised the form, and it’s gained some popularity.

      I was surprised to find the juxtaposition of the perfect center and those ragged petals. The combination’s almost as striking as another poppy I found on a terrifically windy day. Only the center remained. Everything else had blown away.

  30. I think your words are spot on. I like heat, but I am glad I don’t have to live it, living in a more temperate climate as I do. As always I am impressed by how you handle the Etheree form.

    1. I think part of our problem with summer heat is knowing that, once it arrives, it’s going to be a good while before it departs. Of course, I have friends who feel that way about winter, too. It seems that cold-lovers and heat-lovers alike still have a taste for the change of seasons.

      Thanks for your response re: the etheree. The longer I work with the form, the more I realize how much freedom can be found within the structure. It’s been an interesting learning experience.

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