As the day unfolded, increasing humidity slowly saturated the air. The heaviness muffled the cool breezes that had been flowing through the open windows in recent weeks.
Storms and cooler weather were forecasted, so relief would eventually be in sight...hopefully.
The icy coldness of this delicate honey dew and cucumber flavored drink, inspired by St. Patrick's Day, offered a timely relief for this first sultry taste of what is to come.
The last of the Valentine's Day flowers from P. glowed in the heaviness of the air. "Mom, let's turn the air on," the kids suggested as we inched closer and closer to open windows.
Storm clouds were sweeping over the vast Texas sky, swinging their dark capes wildly overhead. "Let's try to wait it out," I replied without much enthusiasm. When the storms come in, the air is going to cool down."
There was one treat that I could offer to make the day more bearable. Honeydew, cucumber, and mint... all flavoring tall icy glasses of bubbling ginger ale. The thought of it made my mouth water with anticipation of relief from the thick air.
R. and I have been studying pieces of literature known for creating certain tones and moods. We recently finished The Birds by Daphne du Maurier. Just as this story made my skin crawl when I was a teenager, he, too, had the same grim reaction.
Not only was the air heavy with dampness and our moods irascible with the heat, but these great swarms of black birds have been swirling into the field behind us. They duck into the tall grasses and become invisible. Moments later, they surge into the air once more, their shrieks adding to the ominous mood of the day.
I snipped little bunches of mint from my potted herbs, slightly squeezing them to breathe in their fresh scent. I sliced the tiny little limes that P. likes to keep handy to flavor his beer.
The bubbling and hissing of the cold ginger ale flowing over crackling ice was a delightful sound that promised of long summer days to come.
The anticipated storms will certainly lift the heaviness from the air, usher back the cooler temperatures and we can return to sweeping breezes blowing through the house.
As the rain drops begin to fall one by one with heavy plops and thuds, I wonder where all of those birds will go.
Polly and Chester are torn between racing to the back windows to watch the birds soar into the sky and following us everywhere in the house...searching our eyes for comfort and security from the impending storms.
Honeydew is such a beautiful melon. Is there anything so soft and pretty as that sweet baby shade of pale green? Honeydew and mint give this drink such a gentle flavor that tastes cooling and light.
The humidity slowly lifts its weary head and the gentle wings of cool billowy air slide in through the windows once more. The hoards of black birds flapping and shrieking are again giving us goosebumps; Polly and Chester scampered off again dreaming of which bird they will snag, and the impending dog days of a southern summer are put off just a little longer.
Honeydew, Cucumber and Mint Mojito
(adapted from Martha Stewart Magazine)
**To make the garnish, cut a shamrock from a slice of cucumber skin using a shamrock cookie cutter.
Serves 1 (just double or triple, etc. for more servings)
1/4 lime wedge
2 sprigs fresh mint
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 cup crushed ice
3/4 cup fresh honeydew melon juice (from half of a melon)
Club soda (I used ginger ale), fresca, or Sprite
1 Tbsp rum (optional)
Cucumber skin "shamrock," for garnish
Place lime, mint, cucumber slices, and sugar in a tumbler or highball glass and muddle. Add ice to glass; pour honeydew melon juice over ice. Top with club soda or flavored carbonated drink. Stir and serve immediately garnished with cucumber "shamrock."