Heat Lightning

The sky is tight like a drum and painted in shades of gray fading from a purplish charcoal to a soft dove with bits of white. To the west, where the sun is setting, pink and orange glow through the gray, the dying embers of a summer day. There isn’t any wind, and there isn’t any chance of rain, even though the air is thick with moisture.

Heat Lightning

It’s the kind of weather that provokes lassitude.

Sitting on the porch swing, sipping lemonade, the woman and the girl watch the sky.

There’s flickering light out to the east, swaths of clouded sky lighting up and fading out like semaphore lamps, but the code they’re using isn’t Morse. It isn’t human language at all.

“Mama, are the fairies talking about us?”

The woman reaches out to her daughter and smooths a flyaway piece of hair out of the child’s face. The flickers of light seem more urgent when she’s watching them. “They want me to come back,” she says softly. “They want me to come home.”

“But you’re not going, are you?”

“No, sweet. I’m not going. Home is here with you.” But the woman can’t help it; she turns her gaze back to the sky. The light flickering there is mirrored in her eyes, as if she’s talking back to the unseen fairies. A whisp of a breeze stirs the air, whispering through the long, loose hair of the woman, and the tight braids of the little girl.

The lights fade away, and the dark creeps in and settles around them.

When the last of the sun has drained away and the stars are visible there is a low rumble. A battered red Ford pickup truck trundles to a stop on the gravel driveway. A man hops out, sees the pair on the porch and lets his lips spread into a happy grin.

He bounds up the three stairs to the porch with more energy than anyone has a right to have in the heat of summer. “Sorry I’m late,” he says. “How are my fairy princesses today?”

“Mama’s the only fairy princess,” the little girl answers. But she leaves the swing and lets the man scoop her up into his arms. “Did you have a good day, Daddy?”

“I did.” He kisses her on the nose then joins the woman on the swing, settling the girl on his lap. “And you?” he asks. “How was your day?”

The little girl understands that the question is really meant for her mother.

The woman leans toward the man, and kisses his cheek, tan from working outside, and rough with end-of-the-day beard stubble. “It was fine;” she says, but it’s not the usage of fine that women use when they really aren’t. She means it. “We’ve been watching the sky.”

Another round of flashing light illuminates the darkness in the distance. The woman seems to read the signals, to comprehend the conversation. She nods and smiles. “It won’t rain tonight,” she says. Softly. “But probably tomorrow.”

The man follows the woman’s gaze toward the eastern sky. “Heat lightning,” he says. “No rain with that. Not for us, anyway.”

“No,” the woman agrees. “It’s just the fairies talking.”

“And what’s the word from them?”

She smiles again, and this time when her eyes light up, they’re not flickering, but glowing steadily, like twin lanterns on a windowsill. “They say I can stay.”

She doesn’t add the words “for now,” but all three of them, their entire tiny family, are thinking it.

Photo by dendoktoor.

Only 94

autumn coffee Today’s projected high is only 94, which is cool for early September in Texas. Break out the parkas. At least it’s not terribly humid.

Still, the softer light of waning summer makes 94 feel less intense at this time of year than it did a month or two ago. Autumn here isn’t the cool, crisp experience it is in New Jersey or Colorado, or even northern California. It’s more of a gentle glide from brutally hot, through comfortably warm, to kinda-sorta sweater weather.
The leaves still fall. The light still changes.

But until November we’ll be wrapped in golden warmth.

Inside it was warm

Skating and coffee

It’s a chilly, grey day in Texas, the kind of day that, anywhere else, would guarantee rain or snow, or both. Here, though, it’s just a thick, cold blanket of clouds that makes everything seem dismal and dreary.

Well, the Christmas lights look awesome in this light…but everything else…

I have just enough of a cold that I’m fatigued and cranky and cannot stay warm. I wanted to actually decorate the Christmas tree, bake something, write something other than a blog post – not that writing here isn’t rewarding, but…


But instead, I’m half-watching a skating special that involves retired Olympic skaters sharing the rink with their children. It’s partly awkward and partly awesome and completely adorable, and if I were the parent of human children instead of the kind with four feet and tails and wet noses that seek my hands whenever they want contact, I’d probably be in tears from the sheer amount of cute.

I have chicken and vegetables becoming soup in the crock pot, and a freshly cleaned bathtub calling my name.

And the tree will still be standing later tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I have John Denver’s “Dearest Esmeralda” playing on a loop in the back of my brain…all this #MusicAdvent stuff has had me revisiting childhood favorites. I love the imagery of that song. And the story.

“We said goodnight in the candlelight and thunder, now I wake and find you’re never there.
I’m becoming old enough to wonder, happy that I’m still too young to care.”

This year, I’m actually PODCASTING my holidailies entries. Go HERE to listen.

Image Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Holidailies 2014

Thursday 13: Rainy Day Quotations

Closeup of Little Girl in Red Boots by Michael Simons

I haven’t done a Thursday 13 in a while, I started this last Thursday when it was rainy, but then I never finished it for whatever reason. It’s not rainy today, but rather, windy, so I’m going to just do weather-related quotations. Enjoy.

  1. “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~John Updike
  2. “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes
  3. “Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.” ~Hosea Ballou
  4. “Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” ~Augustus Hare
  5. “A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.” ~Rachel Carson
  6. “There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind.” ~Annie Dillard
  7. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” ~Alfred Wainright
  8. “The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” ~Joan Didion
  9. Spooky wild and gusty; swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by, fleeing windflung deadwood that cracks and thumps behind.” ~Dave Beard
  10. “Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” ~Earl Wilson
  11. “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
  12. “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” ~Jane Austen”
  13. “What my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
    Under my head till morning; but the rain
    Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply…”
    ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Image Credit: Michael Simons via 123rf.com

Maybe this winter…

Lantern Santa

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”
~John Burroughs, “Winter Sunshine”

Two weeks ago, we had an ice storm. Tonight we are in no danger of anything more threatening than rain, but on this last evening of fall, I can feel winter’s impending arrival even though I live in a climate where that ice storm could well be the only really wintry weather we get all year.

When I woke up this morning, it was 66 degrees, damp, and breezy. The cool, moist air felt like a favorite aunt was giving me a lingering goodbye hug.

This evening, the winter bite is back, and while the temperature has only decreased by about 30 degrees, there’s something different in the pulse of the world.

This chilly, damp weather gives me migraines, sometimes, and when I get them, I get really crabby – even bitchy – but I’m also at my most creative when it’s wet outside.

I also miss the beach.

There’s something magical about the beach in winter. The sand is cold and clammy, and the ocean and sky seem closer akin then they do when both are sun-warmed and blue. The smell is deeper, as if something from far below the surface has come for a visit, and there are different things to find.

In my dreams, Fuzzy and I walk the dogs along a winter shoreline.

In my waking life, I stare at the swimming pool and grin when it’s windy enough for the water to have some chop.

We keep talking about renting a beach house on the Gulf for a weekend, but we never actually do.

Maybe this winter…we will.

Or maybe we won’t, and I’ll have my moments of crabbiness soothed away by my husband’s tender kisses, or the wet-and-cold-nosed greetings of the dogs.

Maybe this winter I’ll find a way to channel the weather-enhanced creativity.

Maybe this winter I’ll incorporate more meatless meals into our diets.

Maybe this winter…

Today’s Santa: This one was a gift from my mother. He isn’t shiny or glass, but he’s one of my favorites because of the lantern he holds.

And Fall Blows In…

I’ve been mostly loopy all day, from a low-grade infection, leftover jangled nerves after a dental visit yesterday, and a migraine triggered by both of those things and a shift in the weather. I’m still feeling a little spinny, and even though it’s not quite midnight, and I’ve been groggy and half-sleeping all day, I’m probably going back to bed as soon as I get this posted.

For the last week or so the weather reports and the Texas Stormchasers have been talking about the cold front that has been creeping toward us all day. Not that it’s actually going to be cold – tomorrow’s high is supposed to be just below 90 – but the overnight lows for the next few days are supposed to drop into the sixties, and the ten-day forecast doesn’t have a single day predicted to be over 94. If that seems like the height of summer, still, consider that this afternoon’s high was 106.

Earlier this evening, Fuzzy and I sat on the deck, watching clouds blow across the night sky as the dogs raced around the yard. It was dark, and still pretty steamy, but the wind had a bite underneath the warmth.

We sat under the rustling trees, and held hands in the dark, as fall blew into town.


My twitter feed is full of friends and acquaintances remarking upon the chill in the air this morning. I woke to a weather alert from the desktop client from Weather.com, warning me that severe weather was possible. This being Texas, “severe” means “there might be frost.” While the part of me that is happiest in cities finds this ridiculous – frost is hardly severe – I have to remind myself that much of the country is still involved in agriculture and such, in which case frost can be an issue…though, honestly, it’s nearly Halloween. If the upper midwest hasn’t had snow yet, they’re all wagering on when the first flakes will fall.

And yet, waking up to a 45-degree chill is sort of bracing. It’s cold enough to justify turning on the heat, but I find myself unwilling to do that. While we do have central air and central heat, air conditioning cools but does not refresh, and right now, after a couple of days of wide open windows, the house feels breezy and light, and not stuffy, and I don’t want to click the heat on and ruin that.

Besides, it’s not 45 degrees IN the house.

I had planned to sleep late today and then work on my own writing, since I’ve got nothing due until tomorrow, but even though I went to bed around two, and took melatonin, I was up slightly before seven. Even the dogs were restless, asking to go out, and then standing there on the deck doing nothing.

I poured a glass of cranberry juice and came back to bed, and now that I’ve written this entry, I think I might follow their lead and curl up for another hour or two.

Feeling (Almost) Like Fall

Yay Rain? It’s no secret that I love inclement weather, as long as it’s rain and not snow. Even cold rain. I just don’t do “serious winter.”

It should be obvious then, that I’m excited about the weather projection shown in this image. Now, please understand, as much as I want that rain to be “scheduled” and not merely “predicted,” I’m most excited by the projected overnight low on the last two days being below 70 degrees.

Ah, it’s the little things.

Gustav seemed like such a nice boy…

99% of the time, The Weather Channel isn’t something I even remember we have. I mean, how often do I really need to know what the weather is like in Atlanta?

When there’s a dramatic weather event, however, I enjoy TWC’s programming. Right now, the buzz is all about our friend Hurricane Gustav, currently a Category 4 storm taking a trip across Cuba. Tomorrow or Monday, however, it’s likely to pick up speed thanks to the lovely, lovely warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

I’m watching news about evacuations going on along the gulf coast, and while I feel bad for people who have to go through it, I’m also excited. Why? Because a bad storm in the gulf means that we in the D/FW metroplex are likely to get some rainstorms that are heavy enough to cool things off, but not so dangerous that we need to be horribly concerned for ourselves.

I know, I know. It’s sick and twisted to think that way.

I can’t help it.

Summer Rain

I woke this morning to a sky that was just beginning to cloud over, and two dogs who were begging to dash outside for their morning business. They came in much sooner than I expected, and when I looked outside to see if there was an animal that might have scared them, I noticed fading rain drops on the porch and picnic table.

The sky, was still predominantly blue, however.

Ten minutes later, the blue had been replaced by thick grey, and thunder was rumbling in the distance. I love thunderstorms. They invigorate me more than even the best coffee sipped at the coolest cafe. I may be a fire-sign (Leo) but water is my element. I am LEO hear me…splash!

There’s something especially magical about a summer rainstorm. Even when you live in a place where it rains frequently, warm rain is special, and freeing in much the same way that running through sprinklers is. It touches the kernel of childhood innocence in all of us.

Rain and thunder, to me, are as musical and inspiring as any symphony, and as accessible as any pop song, but when you combine rain with music? Sheer brilliance.

Just watch: