Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Summer in Raleigh


We were blessed with a nice long spring this year but now, half way through July, summer is in full swing. The other day I was telling my dad this during our weekly chat, and had to explain that although the temperature he was looking at on the computer was 93, around here we go by the ‘feels like’ temperature. As in because of the humidity it ‘feels like’ 98  (or as in the case of 4th of July ‘feels like’ 108!)

Which means when you head out to walk the dog at 7 in the morning, it’s already hot, and you’re covered in a thin layer of dew after a block. Jeans are no longer even remotely possible; skirts, shorts & dresses are de rigour. A distressing reality for someone with less than modelesque legs.

A turtle we found on our walk, you know, as you do

Other than that I actually don’t mind the heat too much. I kind of enjoy the sensation of being wrapped in a hot, wet blanket (sick, I know).   If I’m driving in the morning or evening I’ll roll my windows down (the AC doesn’t work all that well in the Honda these days anyway),  the breeze cool on my sweaty skin, the joyous roar of cicadas pouring in.


The neighborhoods I’m traveling through are covered in an explosion of plant life, fueled by the heavy summer rains and the heat. Kudzu, wild grape & ivy engulf telephone poles, fences, trees, bushes and a blush of velvety emerald moss creeps across shaded walls and roofs. The blooming magnolia and dogwoods of Spring have faded and given way to crepe myrtle and mimosa. Lantana, black-eyed susans and zinnias are in bloom in our front yard.

Last August I became entranced with the various forms of fungi that appeared around our house (documented here & here & here), the year before with the abundance and variety of insects and small creatures that seemed to issue forth from every nook & cranny. It’s enough to tempt me to abandon clothes altogether and take up nature photography!

This is the time of year when sitting outside at one of our favorite restaurants; the misters blowing a fine spray above us; I watch flocks of women pass by, their dresses wildly and boldly patterned in the intensely saturated colors of tropical blooms, their hair cropped short. 

Our tobacco hosta, flowering

This is the time of year when things slow down to a crawl, as folks around here head to the coast or the mountains to cool down. The gallery closes completely the first week of July, in deference to this tradition. “We’re at the beach” the sign read, and indeed this is most likely the response you’ll get when inviting anyone anywhere.

Green chestnuts, harbingers of fall

And this is the time of year when I start to feel a premature nostalgia for the end of the romance of summer in the south, a small but unmistakable ache, like that feeling you get at the end of a luxurious Sunday knowing Monday is just around the corner.

5 Responses to “Summer in Raleigh”

  1. nerponline

    It’s so interesting when people find they have a “heart” landscape very different from the one(s) where they originated. Your’s is evidently the hot, fecund American South, while my brother who was raised in the rainy, green Northwest cannot get enough of Death Valley and the arid the Southwest. Your sister lives in the wide, well-baked Central Valley, but she’s passionate about the blustery coastline a hundred miles to the west. A lot of people fall for comfortably exotic places like Hawaii, but ya gotta respect the choice more when the love-landcape makes demands of the lover that not everyone can accept.

  2. ruchapowers

    Beautiful photos! (as per usual). That Kudzu vine is seriously impressive..and invasive right. Is it true that it is called, or did I just fabricate it in my mind, that Kudzu is called “the vine that ate the South”?? I think humidity must be a nice change from the hot dry conditions we live with here (well-baked indeed!). We had a little taste of it just the other night when after another 90+ degree day a thunderstorm built and it actually rained! Oh how am zing that rain sounded and felt and smelled after the heat of the day. I opened the windows and just soaked in the sense of it. I could definitely get used to summer rains! (less damn watering to worry about for the garden too). Love ya!

    • oami powers

      I think that’s right Ru, and when you drive out of the city you can see why – whole valleys tented in it. Incredible! Just, as Betty says, like a green monster. We really gotta get you out here during the summer, even if it’s just for a couple of days. xxoo

  3. betty

    the kudzu looks so sinister… like a green monster. and i’m impressed that you spotted those camouflaged creatures. the moth is gorgeous… its coloring is like a pottery glaze. (i’m sending you a mushroom photo of my own!)


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