Summer’s Heat and the Changing Seasons

I was laying in the hot bed last night, trying to decide whether the heat is better or worse than the cold. Lawn mowing versus snow shoveling is one piece of it. Cars that have sat out in the weather, another. I’m not sure what the final answer is. It seems we’re always wishing for the opposite season. As they shift, from summer’s verdant greens to autumn’s dazzling golds to winter’s blazing whites to spring’s riotous rainbow of color, I hear myself say, again and again, that what I do like is the changing of the seasons. I appreciate that we live in a temperate climate where the world will always look completely different six months from now.

I believe that having to live with one kind of weather–any kind of weather–would bore me to tears. There is the sense of hope when the first snowdrops and crocus poke out their heads. There is the satisfaction that comes from harvesting fruit from the backyard. There is the breathtaking beauty of our towering maple dressed in October’s red robes. There is even some love for the first, pure snow that follows.

So, as bitterly as I may complain about the heat, what keeps me going is the knowledge that in three months there will be the first threat of frost. It will be time to replace the car’s sunshade with a snowbrush. I’ll need to put away the shorts and pull out the sweaters. And so on and so on and so on.

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The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Why don’t we go to the zoo more often?  We’ve been a total of three times (including yesterday) in the seven years I have lived in Cleveland.  It’s a very nice zoo with lots and lots of creatures in a beautiful wooded setting.  Although it was Memorial Day, it still was easy to navigate and not too crowded.  The weather was ideal–a mix of sun and clouds with temps in the 80’s.  It was just warm enough to make you realize it was summer, but not hot enough to make you sweat.  We spent a couple of hours there in the afternoon with our friends M and D.

We saw so many different animals that I can’t even remember them all.  Some of the highlights included…

A napping Koala
Sleepin’ in a tree

Koalas

A flock of flamingoes
Why do I feel like I’m in Parma?

Flamingoes

Persian Leopard
This Persian Leopard was pacing endlessly.

Leopard

There were ostriches, zebras, giraffes, emus, ducks, geese, cockatoos, rhinoceros, donkeys, miniature horses, wallabies, kangaroos, monkeys and many, many others.  We spent some time in Flutter, the zoo’s Butterfly House.  Although it didn’t to have too many butterflies, the tropical environment was home to scads of tropical plants and flowers.  It was like a mini-trip back to Central America and our cruise!

A tropical bloom

Hibiscus

Another tropical bloom

Tropical Flower

Tropical Flower

Tropical Blooms

Succulent

Succulent in the Butterfly House

Koi Pond

A Koi pond in the Butterfly House

Being the end of May, there were lots of flowering bushes and trees in bloom on the grounds themselves.  Can anyone identify what these might be?  I love them but don’t know what they are called…

Cleveland in Bloom

The plantings at the Zoo are spectacular!

Flower Power

A flowering bush at the Zoo.

We did have a great time.  Hopefully it won’t be years before we visit again.  It’s not too far from home and it’s a great local resource.  You should check it out, too!

sprung

it seems early this year. it’s only the 3rd of april but the grass is growing and things are sprouting up. i cleaned out the beds and laid new mulch. i planted a rosemary bush to replace last years. all the other herbs have wintered over: chives (which made their debut two weeks ago!), sage, thyme, oregano and lemon balm. the daylilies are about six inches out of the ground. the lilac, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes are full of buds. the maple up front is loaded with reddish brown leaftips. the rhubarb is roaring back and should be ready for some cutting next week. i even have some tiny lettuces poking their heads up. more lettuce seeds will go in this week and there will be salads soon enough.

it’s amazing after the brutal cold and deep snows we had that all this life is just bursting forth. it is energizing to me. if little tiny plants can thrive after a winter such as this, should i not also be so lucky? i feel the kernel of something growing inside. it may take more than one season to bear fruit. it may require many cycles of the sun and rain and snow and rebirth. it has taken hold…of that i am certain. it is not a “new me.” it’s just a part of the original me that has been waiting for this moment.

red currants


red currants
Originally uploaded by jasoneats

teentsy weentsy cherry tomatoes


teentsy weentsy cherry tomatoes
Originally uploaded by jasoneats

the tomatoes are coming! the tomatoes are coming!

tomato blossoms


tomato blossoms
Originally uploaded by jasoneats

gooseberries


gooseberries
Originally uploaded by jasoneats

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