In July, trees on the Two Hundred Acre Wood are gloriously leafed out, and vast swaths of woodland are as dark as night - the shadowed alcoves are several degrees cooler than the sunlit fields skirting them. Winding strands of wild clematis wrap around the old cedar rail fence by the main gate, and the silvery posts and rails give off a fine dry perfume.
There are orange and yellow hawkweeds, buttercups and clovers, daisies, tall rosy grasses and ripening milkweed, several species of goldenrod, trefoils and prickly violet bugloss - all are moved by the arid July wind and swaying in place. Open areas are seas of waving greenery, and they have an oceanic aspect - I wouldn't be surprised to see the masts of tall ships poking up here and there.
Birds are everywhere, red-tailed hawks circling overhead, swallows and kingfishers 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 mourning doves are cooing 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, clubtails and darners) spiral and swoop through the air, a few corporals among them for good measure.
I began this morning with the words "It is high summer". Then I remembered that we are already well into July, so I went back and started again. And so it goes in the great round of time and the seasons . . . Many golden days are still to come, but we have stepped into the the languid waters that flow downhill to autumn.