Friday Firesmith – August 2022

August is half gone, and there’s plenty of chances for triple digit heat to set in. Back in August of 07 we had to pour concrete at three in the morning. The metal on the bridge was still warm to the touch, and little coolness bothered the night. Yet even in a heat wave the change was coming, it could still be felt and seen, and sensed. 

The dawn arrives a little later now, the sunset comes earlier, for those who are paying attention. The perennials, wild flowers and those creeping vines that appear in late summer are beginning to make their way up fence posts and dead trees. Soon, broom sage and dog fennel will start their journey towards the sun, too. 

Six week hence, the Equinox will arrive, and each day will be shorter than the night. The earth yearns for relief from the heat, and there is very little to be had yet. It may come, it may not, not soon anyway, perhaps later than before, but the Summer’s grip will be loosened. Even now, trees with the thickest boughs are allowing some leaves to be released early. The Chinaberry trees, who just a few weeks ago were nearly bluegreen with their greenness are issuing pardons to leaves trapped in the shade of others. Yellow leaves drift down, early tourists, evicted tenants, the ground is surprised. 

The grass, even with the daily showers, grows less fiercely now. The once a week struggle with what passes as a lawn here is less frantic now. The heat is the same, but the light is beginning to wane. Less light, less power in the light, and the grass does not retreat but the charge is not as swift as July’s. The position of the sun casts more shade sooner now, and the garden is beginning to suffer from old age. The Squash are gone, the tomatoes rare, and the okra, while still producing, are not as green. 

It’s too early for the corn to be harvested, the cotton has just bloomed, and the peanuts have overgrown the rows. Yet even as I noticed the signs summer is not dead, I do realize that at the middle of August, it is beginning a decline. Not dying, not yet, but in two weeks the dive will be steeper, and the signs more clearly seen. This time of the month is like listening to a sports broadcaster say a player who has just scored “still has it” with the undercurrent that whoever that player is, the decline should show sooner than later. 

Doubtlessly, between this writing and that first cool morning in the fifties, when the world seems crisp and clean, there will be dreadful heat, long hot days, high humidity, and dogs panting on the porch. But I see the change, the signs are there, like the first gray hair of a woman still in her prime. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

12 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – August 2022”

  1. Good point, Mike. The weather changes, the climate changes, the seasons change, human moods change, all controlled by light
    It’s easy to dismiss all these plants going through their annual dance as part of nature’s operetta. But there is a director controlling the choreography, Daylight.
    Around here today is an hour and 25 minutes shorter than June 21st.
    Oh, and you’ve probably heard… winter’s coming.

  2. Great writing, Mike. There’s a lot of poetry in it. I hope it gets more circulation than just here. Here in Minnesota, we’re farther down the slope than Georgia, and I’m beginning to feel the darkness stealing in.

    • Ron, my northern social media friends are already feeling it. It has to be dramatic before the majority will sense it, but the woods people, the river paddlers, those who greet the sunrise and those who watch the stars are already feeling the change.

  3. Yes, we are having early fall as well. I’m not sure if the leaves are being released early, or if they are jumping from heat exhaustion, to be honest. It has been particularly arid and the temperature has been what some folks may call extreme.I rather enjoy summer myself, however, only if I have access to a pool and a good AC unit.
    I believe we are headed into what I call monsoon season. There is no such thing as a gentle rain where I live. I’ve just listened to the deluge of water beat the living daylights out of my property. This is why we have flash floods here. We surely wouldn’t want to have time for the Earth to soak up the much needed moisture, no, lets beat the Hell out of it all at once. Afterwards, since man is so “smart” and strips the land of all vegetation when he builds, it will all run off and cause unnecessary rivulets in the dirt, taking everything with it.

    • Chick, when I arrived here there was a strip of land between my house and the pond, where grass nearly grew. Mostly, when I tried to mow dust clouded the air, and what little vegetation trying to grow was scalped. So I stopped mowing. Twenty-one years later I have a small jungle, and some of the trees are beginning to get big. We should all stop mowing. I think it would be impressive.

  4. I like this writing as well. Great story.

    I like fall/autumn the best: the crispness of the air with a bit of a chill, the leaves exploding in colors, and the overall coolness.

    Mike: how cold does it get in the winter where you are? Here in NE Illinois, it usually goes down in to the teens at night and into the 20’s or 30’s during the day. And yes, we usually get snow and the occasional blizzard.

    • Tim, I have seen snow on the ground three times in my life in this part of Georgia. Mostly, if it does snow it melts as soon as it hits. In the last ten years or so I haven’t seen a hard freeze. I planted the first week of March this year and got away with it, too. But the heat this summer. I’ve never seen anything like it.


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