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Adjusting to Summer

July 17th, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Today’s Flyover People column as seen in The Emporia Gazette:

Dried up dogwood leaves.


In the evenings I often stand in the yard with a hose, watering the young trees, the shrubs, the hedge.

Now I know I could just leave the hose on the ground for 10-20 minutes and let the water seep in on its own, but watering the plants reminds me of my dad. When I was a kid, Dad would spend summer evenings in the yard, hose in hand, moving from the privet hedge to the pampas grass to the rose bushes.

Wearing his summer straw hat and standing in the shade of our mighty elms, he’d hold the hose in his right hand, his left hand hooked into his overalls.

I like bringing back that memory, and so I’m out there even though it’s still 94 degrees at 8 p.m. I feel the day’s heat radiating from the driveway and notice that the leaves are getting crispy around the edges.

Plus, there’s just something peaceful and meditative about standing in one place with a hose, holding your focus on the plants that need the water so desperately.

The summer’s heat and the long-term drought are killing us. I know we’ve had other hot and dry summers over the past few years, but this one seems like it’s trying to outplay the others.

Except in the winter, Zorro, the cat, prefers the great outdoors. He’s not happy about these 100 degree days, but he sits on the porch anyway. When I open the front door for him, Zorro spits out an angry, “Meow,” as if it’s my fault that I’m not moderating the air temperature to suit him.

Zorro can come indoors, but he’d rather be outside where the action is.

We’re all forced to adapt to the summer heat. It affects our choices, our daily activities and movements. We do things differently when the sun turns from springtime hero to summertime villain.

These days it doesn’t matter how far the shaded parking spot is from our destination, we’ll choose the spot under the trees rather than the one that’s closer to the door.

Dave has been on one of his regular summer Popsicle binges. I try to keep the freezer stocked with them. That’s his favorite way to cool off.

What we can and can’t do is often dependent upon the temperature. On a recent Saturday, Dave and I had an appointment in Kansas City in the morning and a wedding to attend there late in the afternoon. It was 107 degrees that day.

We happened to be at the shopping center which has a Trader Joe’s grocery store. On a previous trip, I had picked up some pasta sauce there and we really liked it. But on this trip we were at the store, but we couldn’t buy it because the jar would be sitting in the sizzling truck for the next eight hours.

We made up for the disappointment of forgoing the pasta sauce by having lunch at our favorite Indian restaurant in the city, Korma Sutra, in Westport. The meal was incredible as always. In Westport, hoses were hanging near along the sidewalk in several places, spraying out a fine mist to cool off pedestrians.

Dave and I wanted to walk around the arts district, and we did for a few blocks, stepping into several galleries. But, we still had the wedding to go to and didn’t want to be a sweaty mess when we arrived at the church, so we drove to Crown Center and walked around indoors there.

When the temperatures are over 100, we all look ahead at the 7-day forecast and get excited about seeing a 95 or a 93 off in the distance. And clouds – we look forward to the possibility of clouds which will provide relief.

And rain, of course. When we were coming back from Kansas City, several friends posted on facebook that it was raining in Emporia. They reported stepping outside to see and touch the rain.

But, a little rain won’t save us. This year we need a lot of rain. And until we get it, I’ll be standing outside in the evenings, holding a hose, watering the trees and the shrubs.

Copyright 2012 ~ Cheryl Unruh

columns, life on the ground, seasons, weather

  1. heineken160
    July 17th, 2012 at 21:39 | #1

    Good sentence. “We do things differently when the sun turns from springtime hero to summertime villain.”

  2. July 18th, 2012 at 05:42 | #2

    Popsicles! I thought it was just me craving them lately. I think I’ll have one right now, in fact.

  3. Janet Fish
    July 18th, 2012 at 08:31 | #3

    Summer of 2011 was the worst Summer we’d had since we moved to Kansas. But this summer is beating last year’s on the scale of horrid. It’s even put me into real estate shopping mode. Yes, Coos Bay, Oregon. It’s cool there. Maybe even sweater weather a lot of days. I could live like that……….. All it takes is money! HA!

    SO, we’re here for the duration I think, small town, hot, Kansas.

  4. Lou Ann
    July 18th, 2012 at 08:34 | #4

    Love this! Always find myself nodding in agreement with your writing! Love the phrase, “We do things differently when the sun turns from springtime hero to summertime villain.” So true, so true!! Thanks for the COOL column….!

  5. Greenseeds
    July 20th, 2012 at 09:33 | #5

    I,too, love to hold the water hose in hand while I water. I love the sound of the water hitting the leaves and watching the water flow from the hose. But its been so hot this year, I’ve been using the sprinkler. We’ve been needing to water the house or rather the earth around the house. And I agree, its so tempting to run away to the mountains or up north. Love the Korma Sutra too!