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Summertime

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The local tv station which we watch for the weather has been doing a countdown until summer.  Whoever decided summer starts with the solstice either lived in the north or was an astrologer who only went out at night.  That reckoning makes no sense in the southwestern desert.  School wound up in May and will begin again in August.  100 degree days are already appearing.

John Emerson Roberts took four months off, from early June to the first of October.   It was a point of honor for him that he returned to the farm each year.  In fact, he considered returning to the farm a cure for much of what was ailing society, including high prices.  In 1916 he said,

JERB. . . the farm is being made more unattractive to boys and girls by the reformers who would even prohibit billiard balls and bowling alleys.  We have to get down to the fundamental thing and have got to make the farm laborer’s life more attractive, as the experiment stations and agricultural universities are trying to do.

“Men and women must be persuaded to see that the only life in on the soil,” Roberts said.  But all he could promise was that “they will have the consciousness of living their own way.”

Roberts was able to live his own way by lecturing eight months of the year, and leaving town for four.  Kansas City must have been pretty uncomfortable in summer’s heat.  Who would relish getting dressed up for a lecture at 11:00 a.m. on a July Sunday morning?  It was good business to close for the season.

I write in comfort thanks to my swamp cooler.  Air conditioning has spoiled us. Yet even air-conditioned churches find that attendance, and therefore receipts, go down in the summer.

So much has, and so much has not, changed in 100 years.

Summer’s Green and White

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Summer rains have brought grass to my back yard.  Wild grasses most people call weeds, I admit. P1000616Here the green shows against the new brown path.  The landscaper who put in the path for me couldn’t understand why I didn’t want mulch – wood or stone – around my plantings.  This is why.

One day last week (time has flown by) I took my camera with me on a walk around the neighborhood and captured some white blooms.  The first is in a neighbor’s yard.P1000617The others are wild or weedy.  Datura is blooming grandly in the arroyos after the rain.620daturaI would love to have some of these next flowers, wee morning glories, in my yard, but others don’t like them.  Between the day I first saw them and the day I went back with my camera most of them had been pulled out.P1000618I don’t know if these are truely morning glories because I haven’t been by after noon to see if they close up.  I’m looking forward to cooler weather, when going out to walk in the middle of the day is a pleasure again.  That’s at least a month away.

Two Tanka (not a pair)

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Travelling disrupts writing just as it disrupts blog posting.  Getting back into the routine (I hope) I’m sharing two brief pieces which came from prompts.  The first was a suggestion to play with the possibilities of homonyms (two words with the same sound or spelling):

Blessings of the light:
leaves, laughter,
his even breath beside me,
the little bulb
that lifts the weight of dark.

One little bulb has a very big effect in a cottage down a dirt road far from any street lights.

Another small piece came from a suggestion to “write the spectrum,” that is, to choose one color and see where it takes you.  There could be a great deal more to say on this subject, but sometimes brevity is more fun:

The Color Purple

 

Burbly, gurgly sound,

the term purports precision:

a dye from Greek shellfish.

It purrs, in regal pose, between

red velvet and blue suede.

A July Tanka in January

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Rocks become islands
rising from a table sea.
Cardboard ships sail in,
seize gold, quarrel over it,
cranky as housebound children.

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It was a rainy day.  This game was being played by adults, but the pirate characters they created to captain the ships were definitely argumentative.  And there is something about a summer place and memories.  It is as if the sounds of children of years past continue to hang in the rafters.

I got the picture when the players were away from the table; I like the wavy lines in the wood.  May we all have good fortune in 2014.