Ah…summer, long languid nights and sultry seamless days spent sipping lemonade, and nibbling on cool triangles of watermelon.
Tanned bare feet hanging, nearly touching ground, in a white crocheted hammock, picturesquely hung on the outstretched boughs of a shady tree…gazing out upon a setting that would make even a English gardener proud.
Bees with black thighs laden with saffron colored pollen buzz amidst the rigid fronds of lavender releasing wafts of delicate fragrance on the warm air.
Butterflies sweep gracefully, ballerinas dressed in tulle wings crossing the emerald green grass in search of a drop of nectar from a nearby plant.
Swirling, shifting, fluttering into view, disappearing on a air current high into the tree tops.
Light glimmering off of lime colored leaves, dappled shadows glinting on drops of water.
Miniature prisms of colored reflections.
Bird song scattered among the far away barely heard, drone of a lawnmower, mixes with the gentle moos of local cows.
Crystal clear lakes, famous for their deep calm cool turquoise waters, rimmed by ragged mountains, and sandy beaches beckon you to spend a day relaxing in retreat.
It’s a hard choice, stay at home in paradise, or venture out to see the stunning sights that tourists flock to visit.
And then reality sets in.
This is July.
That was June.
And we live in the Okanagan, not near the ocean.
Summer for us,is a seemingly endless cycle of swatting, sweating, spritzing, watering, weeding, wishing, and wondering when the weather is going to change.
We are in the middle of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures, and baby it’s to hot to breathe, much less to sleep.
Isn’t nature laughing at you now you think, as you try to balance on the edge of your chair, exhausted, sleepless, sweating, hoping not to feel the sticky stuck-ness of skin bonded to chair as you attempt to stand up and it’s only mid morning.
Nature must be giggling over your positive proclamations that it wasn’t so bad, that you could handle it, that summer is short. Winters may be long, and spring may have been late, but summer is here with a vengeance, and she is in one heck of a mood.
There are no languid, soft mornings dawning pink and fresh, with peaceful afternoons spent in a hammock, toe deep in green grass, perfect leaves shading.
Insects fly so thickly in the sweaty intense heat that it feels as if you are looking through a veil. It becomes second nature to sweep off the front door off before you open it. You swear if another fly lands on your counter you just might scream.
in the last week you have seen more large, round, naked male bellies, and unappealing toes that should have never have been seen in public, than any one person should be submitted to in a lifetime.
It’s just starting, welcome to summer time heat, and tourist season. Vehicles become personal saunas when parked outside, air conditioning is ineffective, and you never touch anything dark without care lest you burn your skin.
Smells linger. Clothing is wrinkled, wrung out, hair flyaway, and fierce.
Swatting at mosquitos who think you are their own personal banquet at any time of day despite liberal repellent. The long sleeved men’s white dress shirt that you wear to ward them off, makes going out a endurance test.
You are desperately trying to keep your plants alive, lugging watering cans of tepid water back and forth. Begging them to hang on a little longer until the next watering day comes around.
While the bites that litter your skin make you wonder if it’s all worth the work, or if you should just get out the crayons and play “connect the dots”
Sultry only works for Southern Belles, and romance novels…heat is real, sticky, sweating, hot, tiring, and there are times in the middle of the night that you would sell your most precious plants for a cool ocean breeze once again.
Then just when you think you can’t bear another rendition of the weather person’s fake cheery voice telling everyone to crank up the a/c it’s going to be a scorcher, you catch a break.
The wilting sunflowers in your garden perk up at the hint of a breeze, clouds mass in the blue sky and begin filtering the heat. Sweet peas which were temperamentally on strike give off a whiff of scent so strong it can be smelled yards away. The sulking Dahlia bursts out of hibernation with a yellow blossom that startles the garden awake.
There are baby cucumbers and crisp green peas, in your veggie garden. The tartness of a fresh picked raspberry tickles your tongue.
Mounds of ripening fruit turn into jewelled jars of freezer jam, almost on their own.
A hot breeze that comes over the mountain tops makes you marvel at the slightly cooler temperatures, and make jokes about bundling up.
It’s natures reprieve a moment of kindness, a summer message.
Keep watering, keep weeding, keep picking, the sweating is worth it, the garden is a summer treat that you will remember when you are slogging through snow drifts up to your knees.
And no heat wave lasts forever.