Our summer has been quiet and the weather hasn’t been bad. We had one day of record breaking temperatures and a few more days of really hot weather but most of the summer has been pleasant. When my son and I walked the other evening, there was a slight breeze on the trail and a few clouds gliding by in the sky overhead. While we don’t usually get thunderstorms we do get monsoonal flow, which is why there were a lot of clouds. In the afternoon, they build up and tease us with possible thunderstorms, huge clouds building up over the mountains. Then, the light show occurs over the mountains and we miss out on a rainy afternoon, again. We get lots of humidity, not a lot of rain in the summer. Most years we don’t get a lot of rain in the winter either, but more than we do in the summer.
During the last few days, I’ve noted the lushness of nature, the trees filled out with leaves, a few flowers adding color, and the fruits, vegetables and other seed carriers that replace the flowers. Unlike spring, I haven’t seen baby animals roaming about, just adults squirrels and rabbits who quickly scurry away, worried about predators. When the record breaking heat is here, it can feel like walking into an oven. Those days remind of winter in colder climates, the quiet and few people are out in the extreme temperatures. The birds still flit about, and some of the squirrels hurry on their errands, but most people stay inside, trying to stay cool. When people are outside, they are rushing from the air conditioned building to their air conditioned car to drive to air conditioned shops or homes.
There is also a drowsiness I associate with the summer weather and the heat. People seem only half awake during the day and start waking up at twilight and the slightly cooler temperatures. Sleep is difficult at night, even with a fan or air conditioning, the ambient temperature is too warm for a good sleep. I find myself yawning throughout the day even after I’ve slept well the night before. As summer drags on, I still wake when the sun shines in my window even if I haven’t slept well. By the time cooler temperatures come back I am ready to sleep and prepare for winter hibernation.
In the midst of summer, with heat that rises up from the sidewalks and streets, I notice signs of autumn, slight signs that summer’s heat will eventually fade away. A few yellow leaves on the trees, a scattering of brown leaves on the trail, the wind blowing from the direction I associate with autumn and winter, all premonitions of the seasons to come. These bits and pieces of the fading summer bring me a little sadness, more reminders that time continues to move along, ignoring any desire I might have to try and hold it back. Perhaps it’s just as well time doesn’t stop, I’m not sure I fully appreciate the days I do have. In the meantime, summer continues, with hot, sleep days, filled with the lushness of life started in the spring. Fall will be here sooner than I expect and I’ll wonder where the summer, where the first part of this year has vanished. Only for a moment, then life will move on and it will be time to sample the days of fall.
Photos by J.T. Harpster