1244. August breathes its final, burning breath today and so tomorrow we welcome long-awaited September’s arrival. ~Natalie Scarberry

Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.
Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps.
And by nightfall were like soft teacakes
with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum.
The day was twenty-four hours long,
but it seemed longer.
~Excerpted lines from
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
by Harper Lee

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I used to teach TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and it was and is one of my favorite pieces of American literature. I especially loved this passage above as it described the older women of my childhood. Now that spring flowers have gone I’m like those ladies Harper Lee describes in her novel because by day’s end I am frosted with sweat and talc.

Spring flowers are long since gone.
Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace.
The gardener’s feet drag a bit on the dusty
path and the hinge in his back is full of creaks.
~Louise Seymour Jones

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Much of summer’s bloom hangs not just limp but some of it is fried to a crisp. As for my feet, they are dragging more than a bit on my dusty paths and “the hinge in his back is” definitely “full of creaks” so much so that it’s begging me daily to stop the torturous activity.

The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird’s once bright, immortal tune,
now cries A melancholy aura to the dusk.
~Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck

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As night falls, the birds’ tunes are as melancholy as I feel, but my melancholy has nothing to do with lamenting the fading of summer. It has more to do with being weary from the long trek through the burning cathedral with a high pressure dome for a ceiling that is the reality of July and August in Texas. But I can’t say I wouldn’t do it all over again, for the garden feeds my soul and in it I find so many reasons to praise the Lord over and over again.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear His voice… ~Psalm 95:6-7  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage at top created by Natalie

1231. We are in midsummer; the sun is in full power, and at noon all nature is silent under his spell… ~Excerpt from Eliza Cook’s Journal

Summer is the time when one sheds
one’s tensions with one’s clothes,
and the right kind of day is
jeweled balm for the battered spirit.
A few of those days and you
can become drunk with the belief
that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

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Yay! Hooray! Woo Hoo! We’ve been having some of those jeweled balm days! I can’t exactly say that summer’s coming to an end because at times it can last well into late September or even October where we live. However, there’s a smattering of things at the moment that are foreshadowing Autumn’s coming. Not only that but we’ve gotten some much needed rain lately, and that has brought with it somewhat lower temperatures. And although I know these anomalies will end soon, it has been a welcome and rejuvenating respite from the dastardly dog days of Texas in July and August. One of the forerunners I’ve seen is a few blooming spikes on my physostegia virginiana, a plant commonly called False Dragonhead because of the flower’s resemblance to snapdragons. And it is their pinkish lavender blooms that are adding beauty to the bedraggled remains in the garden. They also bring hope that summer’s siege will in fact come to an end a some point in time, something that some of us begin to doubt after weeks and weeks of triple-digit or near triple-digit temperatures.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

**Large image in background via Pinterest; the side by side images on top of it were taken in my yard today.

1169. It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.
My garden of flowers is also my garden
of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts
grow as freely as the flowers,
and 
the dreams are as beautiful.
~Abram L. Urban

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(Upper left is view out of other half of patio doors; upper right is another shot straight into the green house from my chair. Lower left is the swing house to right of the greenhouse and behind it is the giant oak and the storage shed; lower right is the rose arch over the small porch outside of Natalieworld)

After a recent post where I showed part of my garden and some of the flowers that are blooming now, I received many lovely comments. So I decided to post one more glimpse of my yard and what’s currently blooming. The Texas Heat Beast has definitely arrived, and since he’s stoking up summer’s fiery heat, lots of what I have blooming now will soon be gone. A measure of things will revive in the fall, but there is much more that sadly won’t be back again until next year. Only the hardiest make it through summer’s inferno in Texas, and what I always miss most as we endure the torrid, feverish trek through July and August and September is an unrivaled allure of the ethereal and delicate nature of flowers that beautiful spring proffers.

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(Upper left is more of the allium that’s beginning to bloom; upper right is a double daylily; lower left is a lily; lower right is that same lily before it popped open.)

A garden is always a series
of losses set against a few
triumphs, like life itself.
~May Sarton

[ She ] My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. ~Song of Songs 8:13  ✝

**All images taken by me in and of my yard.

473. When summer opens, I see how fast it matures, and I hope it will not be too feverish; but after the heats of July and August, I am reconciled, like one who has had his swing, to September and the coming of autumn. ~Edited and adapted quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson 

August, with its masses of spent blooms,
August, with its humidity and cloudless skies,
August, with days too hot to relish,
August, torrid and dry in the blazing sun,
August.

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And the locusts in brazen chorus, cry
Like stricken things, and the ring-dove’s note
Sobs on in the distance rim.
~Excerpt from a poem by Hamlin Garland

I(God) cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of the burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5   ✝

Thank you, Lord, that the seasons are ever-changing and that you always care for us!

** Image via Pinterest

458. The summer flower blooms and quickly dies because the sunny glow which brings it forth, soon slays with parching power. ~Edited quote by Dante Alighieri

The serene philosophy of the pink rose is steadying.
Its fragrant, delicate petals burned by the fiery heat
are too soon ready to fall,
with regret or disillusion, after only a day in the sun.
It is so every July and August in my garden.
One can almost hear their pink, fragrant murmur
as they flutter down to die upon the grass:
“Summer, oh summer, will it always be
sultry, feverish summertime.”
~Edited and adapted lines by Rachel Peden

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Although burns have marred her pink petals,
The heat hasn’t utterly robbed the rose of her beauty.
She is yet serene in her fragrant pinkness
And her murmur, albeit faint, speaks of God’s glory.

Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful. ~Nehemiah 9:31 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

441. Bees do have smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ~Ray Bradbury

The first week of August
hangs at the top of summer,
the top of the live-long year,
like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel
when it pauses turning.
The weeks that come before
are only a climb from balmy spring,
and those that follow 
a drop to the chill of autumn,
but August is motionless and hot.
~Natalie Babbit

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Months have passed since the jasmine climbed, the wisteria dangled, the snapdragons snapped, the poppies popped, and the birds obeyed spring’s pressing summons to build nests and procreate. Then after the summer solstice came and summer’s fires were stoked, the feverfew grew feverish, the pink loose-strife broke loose, the inland sea oats set sail on an ocean of green along the fence, and Columbine’s dove-like clusters turned brown, split open and spilled their bits of black seed bounty upon the ground. And whilst all this blooming was going on, the divine music of life that reached glorious crescendos in April grew more mellow in May, perkily sassy in June, and feverishly sultry in July. Two days hence from now, it would normally fall into a low, oppressed hum as August opens the doors to the boiler room, but strangely enough we are and will be for the next week experiencing some cooler than usual days. Though curious about the reason for such a blessing, I’ve learned never “to look a gift horse in the mouth.” The bees busily gathering nectar may grumble somewhat at this interloping gardener who sometimes stays too long in their domain or who moves to close in proximity to their pollen-rich environments such as the Texas Star Hibiscus in the photo, but grumble I shall not because normally this time of year we’re looking at the possibility of a record setting number of triple-digit-high days, days way, way too hot to enjoy even briefly being outside.

I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

432. Colors are the smiles of nature. ~Leigh Hunt, British author

Summer is the time when one sheds
one’s tensions with one’s clothes,
and the right kind of day is a jeweled balm
for the battered spirit.
A few of those days and you can become drunk
with the belief that all’s right with the world.
~Ada Louise Huxtable

What color do words like blush, coral, fuchsia, magenta, raspberry, rose, and salmon conjure up? Isn’t it pink, pink that tones down the physical passion of red, replacing it with a gentle, loving energy?

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Pink that’s the sweet side of red, pink that’s playfulness and tenderness, pink that’s the color of bubble gum and cotton candy and babies, especially little girls.

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Pink that’s charming, pink that soothes the heart and fills it with love, pink that’s feminine and romantic, affectionate and intimate, thoughtful and caring.

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Pink that’s compassion and nurturing and unconditional love, pink that’s a sign of hope, pink that represents the sweetness and innocence of the child in all of us.

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But pink is not just a color; it embodies a variety of attitudes, all of which are uplifting. There’s the cool and collected pinks, the bold and sassy hotter pinks, the soft and drowsy pinks, and the daring and dramatic deep pinks.

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In the spring I think of pink as a somewhat shy presence but as summer’s fiery temperatures rise, pink is anything but timid. In Texas the scorching days of July and August punish the flesh and the spirit relentlessly, but even the smallest touch of pink pours over them like a soothing salve of goodness. The pinks of summer may not entirely keep one from walking “without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer,” but they do keep the flames from licking up so high that they completely snuff out the breath. While locusts screech, pink flowers murmur softer melodies taking some of the edge off their discordant harmonies and human discomfort. I’ve even seen ribbons of pink in a majestic sunset at the end of a day when they seemed to cool down the heat from the intense, fiery glow of the summer sun.

Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps Himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chamber on their waters. ~Psalm 104:1-2   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.