Storing Summer’s Heat

I’ve lost track of how many days the high temperature has hovered around 100˚ Fahrenheit. Although I would like to be outside, prepping more of my yard for fall planting, the heat has prevented me from doing much but staying inside and reading. I’m trying not to hurry these hot days along, reminding myself that all too soon it will be winter. It’s too bad our bodies aren’t created with built-in solar cells, enabling us to save the extra heat from these high summer days for those low winter times when it seems as if spring will never come. I would think our memory would be able to make that adjustment, but I don’t seem to be able to pull the chill of winter around me like a cloak. All I remember is feeling the same way toward the end of winter, trying not to hurry the last of the cold along because all too soon it would be summer.

It’s interesting to me that although we had spells of much hotter temperatures in July than these recent August days, it actually feels hotter now. That reversal is not just a memory quirk — my house feels it, too. For most of the summer, I was able to keep the house cool enough until late afternoon before I needed to turn on the air conditioner, but now it’s only stubbornness that keeps the air-conditioner off until sometime in the afternoon. Generally, it’s hot enough in the morning that a bit of cooling would be welcome.

The only thing I can think of to account for this disparity is that the ground has absorbed so much heat from those hotter days, that it takes fewer degrees in these drought conditions to heat the air to intolerable temperatures. I could be wrong, of course, but if so, it doesn’t change anything. I still have to deal with heat.

One gardening chore that I can do on these mostly sunny days, besides watering my bushes and flowers on the appropriate day, is to try to map the sunshine in my yard. So many plants have special requirements, anywhere from full sun to full shade, that it’s hard to know where to plant things. One area I thought got full shade turns out only to be shady in the morning. Some areas I thought got full sun, only gets sun in the morning and evening. Other sunny spots are shady in the afternoon and evening. One piece of information about planting that’s hard to find is if the timing of the sun or shade is important. If a spot is shady in the morning but sunny the rest of the day, is that better for shade lovers than sun in the morning and shade the rest of the day? Or is it better for sun lovers? Or neither?

There’s only one place in my yard that seems to get full sun, though since it’s on the north side of the house, I would have thought it would be full shade, but that’s only in winter.

So, that brings me back to where I started, thinking of the cold to come and trying to mentally store the summer’s heat so I’ll be able to remember it this winter.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator