FIRMLY PLANTED ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT

Day after day of one hundred degrees, or more...is this a scheme of some hidden power of Texas to cause all but the most foolhardy to run back to the coolness of the North? Will this murderous climate be the solution to overcrowding? If I wasn’t a native, if I didn’t have deep roots here, if I didn’t feel there’s more to love than the climate, I would probably run. But I know that this extremely hot summer isn’t the norm.

The last two summers were unusually cool for Texas. I remember because I have a thing for water. Only a few years ago, I began to desire to be in water—not necessarily swimming, but definitely floating, and I wanted to do it in my own backyard. An in-ground pool was not an option, but I found the perfect solution in a stock tank pool (look it up on Pinterest!) In late August of 2020 I had one installed. Summer was almost over and it seemed almost every day it rained or wasn’t hot enough to heat up the water sufficiently. 

ENCOURAGEMENT - aug 2022 - firmly planted - still.JPG

I was looking forward to the next summer—but, alas, it was cooler than normal! The shade in my backyard and temperate nights kept the water too cool for me. (I like warmish water—I can’t stand the shock of cold on my skin, no matter how hot it is outside!) I used the pool several times during the summer, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy that seemingly insatiable desire to be in water.

Not so this year. A daily dose of 100° and warm nights have kept the water just right. I get to submerge, float, kick back, and half-heartedly exercise multiple times a day. It’s a joy to read, pray, ponder the garden, and even watch movies at night…all while reveling in the miraculous combination of molecules called H2O.

I used to dread summers because of the heat, but the pool has been a game changer for me. Getting wet brings my body temperature down—I’m able to raise the thermostat to 78 and still be comfortable inside, though I spend the majority of time outside. I usually start with a good soak in the morning. Being still in the water settles me, and my stillness invites the birds to descend. They flit back and forth from bird feeder to bird feeder. Some eat the spilled seed on the ground, and some sit in trees and watch. A squirrel drinks upside down from the lion fountain and I see an anole on the fence extending his beautiful red dewlap. The gently moving water creates a shimmering reflection on the plants around the pool. These things are easy to overlook if I’m focusing on gardening chores, not paying attention.

 Every morning Jasper, my cat, and I walk around the garden doing the necessary watering, clipping, and pulling weeds. It’s so easy to get distracted and start doing more. Before I know it the morning is gone, and quiet time with it. There’s no end to work—gardening chores and projects, adding new design elements, even thinking about ideas can be “work.” When I get in the pool I’m physically removed from garden work and I’m able to be still and quiet, take notice of what’s around me, and ponder the invisible behind it all.

Not everyone can have a pool to soak in—I’m overwhelmingly grateful that I do. It’s added a new dimension to my life: an opportunity to enjoy God’s gift of water, another avenue to stillness, and a way to cope with intolerable heat. Now, I actually enjoy and look forward to summer—but I must confess that underneath my summer dress is a wet or damp tank top nearly every day all day, everywhere I go, with a very few exceptions.

“Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible.”

Rumi

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Still, Quiet and Cool
by Dina Cavazos