Summer Harvest in The Grove

mangoes

Mango Tree

In my town of Coconut Grove – an eclectic South Florida village and bohemian haven to local writers, artists, architects and musicians – summer harvest is in full swing. Virtually every house in The Grove is surrounded by lush tropical flora and fruit trees. Starfruit, sea grapes, lemons, oranges, avocados, mangoes, lychee, guava, coconuts, figs, and olives. As they  ripen, the pungent smells fill the air.  What abundance! And, how grateful we are that the daily spurts of tropical rain, followed by sunshine and steamy, hot air provide the perfect climate for growth. 

Starfruit

Starfruit (“Carambola”) Tree

In this sustainable environment, not only does nature produce a rich bounty for individual households and all the outdoor creatures that inhabit the yards (birds, cats, possum, squirrels, frogs, lizards and geckos), it also encourages neighborliness. Just the other day, one of my neighbors dropped by with a bag full of mangoes from her tree.  Everyone shares their harvest. It is not uncommon to see baskets of fruit  set outside a front gate, with a sign saying “Please help yourself. Enjoy!”

My sea grape trees cascade over the front yard, providing shade for the sidewalk and part of the street.  Hanging from the branches, the ripe grapes are a welcome treat to anyone strolling by.  Blending (chameleon-like) with the large, green sea grape leaves, the mischievous parrots teeter precariously as they hop from branch to branch – tipsy from indulging in  their very own bacchanalian feast. Their loud and gleeful squawking can be heard from one end of the street to the other. Their joy is infectious.  

Just this morning, I stood smiling as I looked up at the parrots.  My smile turned into a belly laugh when several grape pits pinged my forehead. I’m sure those naughty feathered creatures did it on purpose, but I didn’t mind.  Not at all.  I’m just deeply thankful that my trees are bearing fruit and that they are being savoured by animals and humans alike.

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
William Blake

seagrape

Sea Grape Tree and Parrot (posing for the camera)

Dance like nothing matters

dancing-in-the-rain

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.” 
― William W. Purkey

 

When it feels like the walls are closing in on you and the stress is threatening to take you down…. stop.  Press the pause button.  You need  to take a moment, an hour, maybe even a whole  afternoon – to do something that will make you smile, grin… or even throw your head back  with uninhibited laughter.

My recommendation: Dance.

Why not?

Dance by yourself (don’t feel self-conscious, nobody is watching!) or grab a partner and twirl around, waltz, or – if you know how – tango!

Here, in steamy South Florida, we enjoy daily (afternoon) tropical downpours and I love to go out and dance about  the yard. Lifting my face up to the sky, I welcome the rain as it washes away all the stresses and annoyances that had been niggling away at me.  I feel rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to take on any challenge that may cross my path. I look up at the window and there is my husband and black Lab, both staring at me as if I had just escaped an insane asylum.  I wave at them to join me, but my dog ducks away from the window as soon as the first loud peal of thunder shakes our rooftop.  My husband makes a crazy sign gesture, directed at me, and disappears from sight.  I shrug and continue my rain dance, choosing not to pay attention to the fluttering of curtains in several neighbors’ windows.  Completely soaked through, I finally pad my way up the stairs and go inside to dry up.  My dog greets me with a sniff and a lick. My husband stands beside him, a bath towel in his hand. He wraps it around me, and gives me a hug. 

All is right with the world.

Image via sheranescloset.com.