“Smoke gets in your eyes” so stay inside

“When your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes.” 
~ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for the 1933 musical, Roberta.

I realize this old show tune is not really literature. However, it has been around for a good long time, and at least 62 (so far) remakes of the song have been recorded from 1934 to 2014 by singers as diverse as Glenn Miller, Nat King Cole, Cher, Englebert Humperdink (not his real name), Barbra Streisand, Jerry Garcia, Freddy Mercury, Judy Garland, reggae artists Bryan Lee and the Dragonaires and  Zoot and Roulf from The Muppet Show.

One of my favorite renditions of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” was performed by jazz artist, Patti Austin.

I feel relaxed whenever I listen to this golden oldie, but I’m anxious about all of the smoke in the Rogue Valley getting into my eyes when I garden. The other day, I ran my finger over the hood of my car, and it came up black with soot. That stuff isn’t just getting on my car, either; it seeps into the house and me.

If I’m going to be outside for awhile during smoky days, I protect my eyes with sunglasses and my lungs with a respirator that’s designed for smoke.

Plants have pores, too, called stomata, on their leaves and stems. Residue from wildfire smoke can clog a plant’s stomata and disrupt photosynthesis; that’s why it’s a good idea to wash off foliage that’s been exposed to extended periods of smoke, preferably in the morning so plants have time to dry off and mildew doesn’t have a chance to settle in.

Let’s face it – gardening in extreme heat and unhealthy air is not fun. It’s best to stay inside when the air quality is poor. Now is a good time to focus on harvesting all of those tomatoes and peppers that are becoming ripe, and to becoming a little more relaxed about weeding and deadheading. I’ve decided that I’m going for the natural look.

While I’m relaxing inside on a smoky day, what better song to play than “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”?

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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