Boston Ivy (parthenocissus tricuspidata) is in bloom... or leaf, I guess. Below, is the same section of vine. It will continue to get larger, and deeply green.
In the summer, the ivy keeps the sun from hitting the brick walls, and keeps the house cool(er). In city, country, or coast, we don't own or use air conditioning, preferring slow movement and cold drink. Heat is always more tolerable with the right music. Bossa nova, calypso, samba, and other humidity-based genres make things a bit smoother, and the truly bad heat never lasts more than a week or two.
In winter, the leaves are gone (unlike English ivy) and the sun can warm the bricks a little. I also like the aesthetic of sharply groomed windows, frames and doorways... a dichotomy of wild growth and human control. The sparrows and starlings also love the ivy, and we have a city of nests within the leaves, the bustle for which begins at 5am every day. Boston also has creeping hydrangea, but I am teetering on the verge of boring even myself already.
It was a painfully humid evening, and my sister and I sat down in the horribly hot and dimly-lit dining room at Grandmother's (rest in peace). There was a very long table, and several candles added to the heat. As a 7-year old, 8pm was not only my bedtime, but it was a half-hour past my sister's. I sat upright, with a tie smothering my neck, so hot that my usual antsiness was kept in check for the economy of movement. For who-knows-what-reason, the windows were closed, and Grandmother preferred the large double doors to the other rooms also closed. Our parents were likely seated comfortably somewhere in a generously air-conditioned theater enjoying a relaxing performance on the other side of the city. The dinner arrived, and my lucky sister was able to fall asleep moments before, slouching atop her phonebook-booster seat, with her white headband barely visible above the edge of the table across from me. Far at the other end of that long stupid table, a plate was placed in front of Grandmother, and another approached me. When Ms. B put the food in front of me, my heart sank: hot roast beef and steamed vegetables. The stifling heat was enhanced for a moment with the smell of hot cauliflower and unctuous and savory beef broth, and it was more than I could take. The blood left my head, and I slid unconsciously down in the uncomfortable wooden chair.
When I came to, Grandmother was kneeling next to me with a cool damp towel from the kitchen, and Ms. B was fanning me.
"Are you feeling better?"
"Good. Take your seat again while your dinner is still hot."