Sunday, May 22, 2005

Suddenly Summer

For two months the weather cooperated beyond belief. The evenings were dominated by temperatures in the seventies with a nice light breeze. Sitting on the balcony surrounded by the lush growth of the various vegetables and flowers made the end of the day something to look forward to even when I was bringing home work.

Everything changed this week.

Spring changed to summer overnight. Daytime temperatures soared into the middle nineties and remained there until long after the sun retreated. The prevailing breezes faded into a stagnant stillness in this valley. The glaring sun sapped the moisture from the plants and turned them to sagging leaves and stems.

The change in seasons, though, ushered in a different view of the plants. The lilies began to bloom as did the moonflower plant which survived the winter. The moonflower and morning glory vines began to grow more rapidly and have all set buds which look to open in the coming week. The pepper plants are thriving and putting on their pungent fruits. The hot banana peppers are reaching maturity every few days, the hooked poblanos are almost ready for stuffing and breading; the smooth but potent jalapenos are taking shape; and the crinkly, but dangerous habaneros are hanging from each limb of the bush.

The highlight of the week, however, were the fresh cherry tomatoes which ripened and are ripening daily. Some of my other tomatoes are also starting to turn a lighter shade of green. Tomatoes are one of summer's greatest rewards because they take patience. New tomato plants grow measurably on a daily basis and within weeks have tiny firm green fruits dangling from the places where just days before a cluster of yellow flowers hung.

And then those fruits hang.

And hang.

They hang for weeks before the first blush begins to appear.

Once that first hint of redness appears, the transformation from tart, firm, green ball to sweet, soft, red fruit takes just days. From that point on the patience is rewarded almost daily with new tomatoes ripening. In the end, the care and nurturing are amply rewarded.
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