Full-on Summer

After a week of cool, wet weather with low temperatures in the 50s overnight, the Midwest summer has hit Wisconsin. My garden is thick with arugula, and the tomato plant is growing at the rate of a jungle vine. The heat index today is in the danger zone with a high temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at 78%.

I refuse to turn on the air-conditioner in the house; I have none in my car. I rely on all those passive techniques my mother taught me when we were living in the 1875 Victorian in the Chicago suburbs. I don’t have an attic here; this is a Lannon stone ranch-style house. I open all the windows and the front door at night to let in the cool air and shut everything up when the sun rises in the morning. I have a box fan in the living/dining room, no ceiling fans.

Steve converses about Buddhist mindfulness. What does it feel like in this weather? Without judgement, accepting what is, what do I notice?

The trees are swaying outside my window. As hot as it is, there is a stiff breeze. I see a million shades of green. I hear the hum of the fan. Birdsong woke me at 4:40 a.m., before I shut the windows. I noticed smells inside the house after I shut them. Melting soap in the bathroom. Coffee. My body feels slow, swollen, lazy.

I am trying not to dread the fundraising event I am working tonight. The dress is “formal”. The open bar and silent auction are outside, on the patio. My dress is made of an unfortunately synthetic material (long story). I imagine I will sweat. I fear social embarrassment…and I do not. I don’t really care that much. I like myself. I do fine work. The rest is unimportant. I will practice being gracious and compassionate, and I will come back home to my cool stone house at the end of the evening, strip down and lie beneath an open window, waiting for a thunderstorm. All will be well.

Outside, the butterflies and chipmunks, the birds and deer and Charles the woodchuck go slowly about their summer growth. I imagine that while they may sweat, they do not fret. I aspire to learn their wisdom. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Place in the World, The World in a Place

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Foreword, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (of Wisconsin). 

Being in a Place is about a relationship; it involves everything a relationship is about — communication, affection, honesty, respect. There’s a give-and-take, an evolving dynamic that’s always present. Places change and we change.  

How do you go about nurturing a good relationship with a Place? Much the same way that you might with a Person.

First of all, slow down. Take time to listen and observe silent clues. Feel with your intuition. What is happening here? What emotions do I sense? What kind of energy seems to be flowing here?

And always remember, you are in this relationship, too. Slow down and sense your own feelings, emotions, and energy. How are you in relationship to this Place?

Living in Wisconsin, I am aware of inspirational Land Lovers like Aldo Leopold, Gaylord Nelson, and John Muir, all of whom resided here, walked here, and shaped land policy. My partner Steve and I strive to be constantly aware of our relationship with Place. I personally feel closest to the Places where human impact is minimal, and my photo library reflects that. Here is a gallery of places that we have loved and that have loved us in return. 

Place in the World

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific

 

I’d never seen an entire field planted with purple cone flowers as a crop before. Echinacea is used medicinally in tea and as a supplement that boosts immune system health. Usually, I see a few in a prairie mix, …

…but this was something special. 

Prolific

Weekly Photo Challenge: Awakening to Spring

The photo challenge for this week is about life’s waking after a long winter. Well, someone must have hit the SNOOZE button for Wisconsin because it’s still FREEZING up here!

I was able to see some blooms indoors at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago at the end of last month. Here’s another fern to echo Jen’s post:

I am really looking forward to the proposition of warmer days and greener landscapes. Any time. Soon. The sooner the better, really. Like…now would be good. Yeah. Until then, Northerners, this bud’s for you. 

Awakening

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunrise, Sunset

Many years ago, four members of my family were cast in a community theater production of Fiddler on the Roof –  my late husband, myself, my son and my daughter. My son, fabulous dancer that he is, performed in the Russian cossack dance and the Jewish bottle dance. To bring this full circle, we will be celebrating my son’s wedding ceremony this weekend. 

The wedding scene in the musical features a beautiful tune called “Sunrise, Sunset”.
“…Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older, when did they?
What words of wisdom can I give them,
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another,
Day by day.”

To Josh and Daena: may all your sunrises and sunsets together fill you with joy and wonder!  

Rise/Set