Retired from the University of Texas and too old to play soccer anymore. Now, in the twilight of his years, time is spent writing in this blog, hiking and exploring Texas Parks, photography, working out, gardening and tending to the five ponds he built .
With the temperatures finally cooling down here in my part of Texas, you would think that I would be chomping at the bit to get out on the trails or outside in the garden. After all, the 100 degree heat lasted almost 3 months of which, I spent a great deal of time indoors in the air conditioning, only venturing out when the larder got low and needed restocking. I haven’t been out on the trails since my last hike at McKinney Roughs way back on June 8, 2018 and have only done enough in the yard and ponds to keep things running with the very occasional trimming to keep the paths clear.
Somehow though, I have gotten used to the lazy life of sitting around and even though the high temperature is only around 90 degrees on the hot days and getting cooler all of the time, I still find myself sitting in front of my computer looking out of the window at the yard instead of going out and getting stuck into all of the work that needs to be done. I suppose I can blame some of that on my increasing years but if I want to live for a few more of them, I need to bite the bullet and just go and get after it. I do have the excuse that my shoulder is sore, the one that I managed to wrench when I was loading the coins into the truck and I am going to Physical Therapy for it. I also joined a new gym just a couple of miles up the road from me but I am using the the same wrenched shoulder as an excuse for not working out. That’s even worse as the gym as you can imagine, has a brand new, state of the art cooling system.
What will it take for me to get of my arse, which, if I am not careful will start to grow to a much larger size unless I can convince my brain that I need the exercise. In truth, it is a mental problem more than a physical one as I feel fit enough. On the positive side, I know that I will overcome my mind and get outside and do what I do best and that is hard work as I have all of my life. As the temperature cools down even more, I will start working out and going on that hike? Honest, I will…
Such are the quandaries that I find myself in at this time of my life and what the Texas heat can do to a man…
I walked around out in the yard
trying so very, very hard
to ignore the heat that I felt out there
and wondered how much I could bear
before I give up and move back inside
or my face and skin will be fried
even though I had carefully rubbed in
sun tan lotion upon my skin
which would keep me from getting a burn
and please my Doctor from whom I had learned
that too much sun is not good for the skin
and makes bad things grow eventually within
as I worked on things needing to be done
I was thinking about the rising sun
and wondered what I could do instead
as obviously I have been misled
into thinking the task I was working on
was something that would not take long
and I could quickly get it done
before the heat from the sun
made me think for a bit
that maybe tomorrow I can fit
this project into my busy day
and get out early if I have my way
I packed up my tools and put them away
this project can keep for another day
I’ll get up early and while it is cool
do the work that is needed as common sense rules.
Today we are having rain
something about which we do not complain
as I have said many times before
in Texas it rains and we let out a roar
as a sign of our pleasure for so simple a task
more rain is something we always ask
to combat the heat with the temperatures high
looking for clouds to darken the sky
and hoping that rain will fall on the ground
and so doing will cool the temperatures down.
I took a walk around the yard
in between the showers so hard
to make sure that things were OK
and the ponds could handle the rain this day
I barely had time to make one loop around
before it started to rain on the ground
and I dashed to get in the house and the dry
as the rain continued to fall from the sky
and sat by the window to watch it fall
as the rain is at Natures beck and call.
Summer is here with all that it brings
as the temperature climbs as though it has wings
going higher and higher with each passing day
topping out around a hundred too hot to stay
outside in the heat for long and instead
stay where cool air blows overhead
keeping us cool the dogs and me
as we each do our thing quite comfortably
the dogs are quiet each with their spot
it must be nice to sleep such a lot
and its instant the minute their head hits the floor
except when I get up to go out the door
they are awake and right by my feet
in case they miss something maybe a treat
I have learned here in Texas a long time ago
that the heat from the Sun will make your skin glow
and sunburn is the most painful thing
when all it takes is a hat and to cover the skin
with lotion especially made for the task
without it your life will surely not last
Texans are pretty tough more than most
we’re used to the heat is something they boast
as the summers are not for the faint of heart
as A/C and cool drinks each play their part
around the end of September it will start to cool down
by then the Sun will have parched the ground
unless we are lucky and had some rain
which sometimes happen when a hurricane
moves in from the sea and onto the shore
and we get rain lots of rain sometimes more
than we need as it floods the rivers and lakes
and then it is gone which is all it takes
to make things grow the following spring
as Natures design covers everything
it may be hot more hot than I like
but I would not change it for a cooler life
instead of the heat the frosts I can’t stand
and the snow and the ice which covers the land
in winter making six months obsolete
to me is far worse than the Texas heat.
By the time you get to read this, many of you will be in the grip of winter, knee deep in snow and ice, along with cold and freezing temperatures. Cars won’t start and when they do, you have to clean the ice off the windshield before trying to drive on ice packed roads along with your neighbors. Fender benders and cars in the ditch and tow trucks are all a part of the winters norm. especially if you live in Upper New York State as I did.
I lived there for ten years when I first arrived in this country on March 13, 1967. The first night, it snowed 13 inches of heavy wet snow leaving me to wonder just what I had let myself and my family in for. I had never ever seen that much snow in my life and it probably totalled the sum amount of snow in my previous 31 years. Over the next ten years, we grew used to winter but never really liked it. We learned how to drive in it and how to winterize the car so it would start in the mornings. We even had a snowmobile and ice skating and skiing were all a part of the norm.
Circumstances changed and I found myself in Texas in 1977 and have been here ever since. Compared to the New York State winter cold, the Texas summers, although a little on the warm side, are much easier to handle, at least for me. The coldest I have ever been outside was on the ski slopes where the windchill at the top of the mountain was 51 degrees below zero. That was cold, so cold in fact that I took off my skis and walked back down the mountain. On the other hand, the hottest temperature I have been out in was 108 degrees in Dallas while playing in a soccer tournament. Needless to say, it was hard to get eleven players out on the pitch and players were begging to get subbed. I can’t remember if we won or lost and most of us didn’t really care.
So, I thought it nice just to brighten your day especially if you are in the grip of winter, to show you a couple of cheery pictures that I took way back in October when the sun was warm and the flowers were waving their lovely heads and saying, “Look at me”.
I stuck my head outside the door
confirming what I knew before
that the temperature was already high
more than I wanted to give it a try
although not yet peaked, it was morning still
the afternoon would be in for the kill
and the thermometer could go high
maybe all the way to one hundred and five.
Today’s heat might well be
the hottest day that we will see
although a lot of Summer remains
fifty five more days the Calendar claims
as Autumn starts September 22nd
when it comes it will feel like heaven
compared to what is outside my door
although we have been here many times before.
I would like to go on another hike
so that I have something to write
but I do not want to brave the heat
and inside the house will be a treat
I can sit and write to my heart’s content
bad poetry as my thoughts relent
as words spill out in a jumbled mess
putting my brain to the test.
Somedays the words really flow
and on one of those days is when I know
that the words that I write will sound fine
and the poem will reach it’s end in rhyme
for it is not easy to write good verse
especially when it is at it’s worst
and the only reason to try to write
is the temperature outside is so bloody high.
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