At this time of the year, trees on the Two Hundred Acre Wood are so gloriously leafed out that vast swaths of woodland are as dark as night - the shadowed places are several degrees cooler than the sunlit fields skirting them. Strands of wild clematis wrap around the old cedar fence by the gate, and the post rails give off a fine dry perfume.
Hawkweed in orange and yellow, buttercups and clovers, rosy grasses and ripening milkweed, goldenrod, trefoils and prickly violet bugloss - all are moved by the arid end-of-June wind and swaying in place. The open places have an oceanic aspect, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the masts of tall ships poking up here and there.
There are birds everywhere: red-tailed hawks circling overhead and swallows swooping over the river, bluebirds on the fence, grosbeaks dancing from branch to branch in the overstory and caroling their pleasure in the day and the season. I can't see them for the trees, but there are mourning doves somewhere nearby.
Fritillaries and swallowtails flutter among the cottonwoods, never pausing in their exuberant flight or coming down to have their pictures taken. Dragonflies (mostly skimmers and darners) whirr and swoop through the air, a few corporals among them for good measure.
I originally began writing here this morning with the words "It is high summer..." Then I remembered that this is the first day of July, and I erased them. High summer has passed by, and though there be many golden days to come, we have stepped into the languid waters that flow downhill to autumn.
Happy, happy July everyone.