Taking the heat
I force myself to walk in the mid-summer heat. American southern midwestern heat: 101 in the shade with 90% humidity. My hikes are in the woods on familiar paths. A frozen bottle of water and a camera are all that I pack. No one thinks I’m brave; everyone thinks I’m nuts. I’ve always done this sort of thing. Part of it is that I don’t want to lose my tolerance for heat (or cold) to the cozy confines of my American life. Goofy as that sounds, I guess it’s worked for I’m still entering the woods in deepest July. Another part of it revolves around a nag that’s harangued my brain since childhood: the fear that I’ll miss something. I don’t want to miss the woods at their extremes. Last winter I was able to hike after an ice storm. Couldn’t bear to miss the woods at 102 degrees. The forest in high heat emits a silence and a buzz. Nothing stirs. The silence, like the steamy heat, almost hurts. You do hear yourself, your steps, your blood beat. And there’s a white noise in the underbrush. Insects, perhaps. Bugs in the weeds. Snakes, lizards, chlorophyll cursing through the big veined
leaves. If anything can silently hum, that is the forest in deepest July. The trees are at their fullest and most green on these blast furnace days, long before the yellowing of September. I call this photograph July Trees. Glad I did not miss them awaiting cooler weather.
Copyright 2017 RC