Summer officially arrived Tuesday, but had been warning of its arrival for days before. All the cool dry weather evaporated two weeks ago, replaced by humidity and heat. Most days, a steady breeze has kept things tolerable. But like many of Dallas’ residents, “it is fixing to leave” for a spell. And yes, if the temps dropped to 85, it would feel like a cool snap.
The forecast for the foreseeable future is heat – the description of which Sydney Smith (no relation – he was an English clergyman, critic, philosopher and wit.) perfectly captured in Lady Holland's Memoir (1885): “Heat, ma'am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”
But I have kept walking – both in the morning and at night. Though days are now supposed to be getting shorter, it’s possible to leave the house at 8:15 P.M. and get a thirty minutes walk in before it’s too dark.
Summer nights still remain my favorite walking time especially on streets whose oak trees tower and spread out, whispering when a light breeze shakes their foliage. On Friday evening we opted for a part of town whose houses are imposing, and trees, majestic – their branches form a canopy that blocks sight of the sky. Plus its streets have a slight incline for better exercise. Ah, surely the air is more rarefied in this neck of the woods?
The next morning we returned to this area and pursued some estate sales. Always arriving at the tail end, our picking through the remains reminds me of the scene from “A Christmas Carol” when Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come see the charwomen disassembling his possessions. I suppressed thoughts that imagined what others might think of all the “gently used” treasures.
The weather, my walks, and our “yard sailing” -- and all those thoughts whose companionship reveal my incomplete prayer life implore me to make the most of what God gives – holding oh so lightly to the reins of my life:
I looked long and hard at what goes on around here, and let me tell you, things are bad. And people feel it. There are people, for instance, on whom God showers everything — money, property, and reputation — all they ever wanted or dreamed of. And then God doesn't let them enjoy it. Some stranger comes along and has all the fun. It's more of what I'm calling smoke . . . (Eccl 6:1-2from THE MESSAGE.)
Today is not a dress rehearsal for tomorrow, wise people have said. What I do, when, why and how is still important! As one astute commentator urged: “Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg.” (See Christians Quoting. )