Paint me green and call me Fiona then I’ll introduce you to my husband Shrek because we live in a swamp. In our swamp home, in the mucky Houston area, our windows are glossy wet from the humidity that collects every morning and speckled with bugs that wanted out of the heat and got stuck trying to break through the pane. Thankfully, there are lush beautiful gardens to see when the heat finally burns off the moisture.
Early morning, as I leave the Shrek castle, I point my two wheeler towards the wildlife preserve for a twenty mile bike ride so I can swerve to miss serpents three or four times (I am not exaggerating). There are some beautiful birds and impressive trees to appreciate there, but when the afternoon thunderstorms begin to fall, the whole area smells swampy. It’s hard to apreciate beauty while you’re wishing you didn’t have to breathe.
Back at home, there are rats eating my tomatoes while we sleep! Vermin. They of course summon the worst of all swamp creatures: snakes. Craig says let the rat snakes come and work for us. I say, NO! they are huge and scary even though they can’t hurt us. Let’s get an outdoor cat. To that he replied: “no, because Jack will fall in love with the cat and invite it in then I’ll suffer allergies for as long as I live.” Can’t poison the rats because we have Lucy. What do we do?
Now that our guests have all come and gone for the season I can share the story of the patio monster we impaled prior to their visit. Naturally we didn’t tell anyone before they came for the graduation weekend, or we’d have had a quiet weekend to ourselves.
A cottonmouth passed over the side walk one Saturday so I shrieked, hopped up on the bench and called Craig to come get it. The sneaky thing hid so well in my plants it took us fifteen minutes to find it. Meanwhile the kids drew up their bravery in all sort of play machinery. Thankfully Craig didn’t give up. He knew I’d have a problem out there if he didn’t get rid of it.
June to August in the southern states of America isn’t an outdoor free for all wonderland. It’s not how I remember summers to be when I was growing up in the cool midwest where the days were long and we played outside every hour of light. Here, we hibernate during the heat and try to do our outdoor activity before nine in the morning and after seven at night. And the afternoon siesta becomes a natural rhythm of the day because the heat sucks all the energy out, we have no choice but take a nap.
All I have learned about living where it’s ridiculously hot in the summer is to go away as far from the heat as possible and for as long as possible. And when I am home it’s a good time to do the indoor winter activities we did as a kid like board games,crafts, read good novels, go mall shopping, cook new recipes, and enjoy music. When I get sour about living in the swampy summer here, I remember the ten weeks of beautiful outdoor living we just enjoyed while the rest of the country endured the tail end of a long winter. And then I remember there’s no perfect place… I can’t have everything just right… and I can always find a way to see the possibilities rather than dwell on the problems. It’s good to be pushed to practice that because if it were always perfect I’d take it for granted.
*p.s. for some reason I am having trouble with my wordpress account when I add my photos. It’s not going in the order I want. Bear with me as we figure out how to solve this pesky problem. Thanks!