Day after day the town is wrapped in haze and heat, dry and desolate. Most of the birds have vanished. I would expect to see squirrels gathering early acorns by now, but they too are absent. It seems as though the wildlife have abandoned the place, offended by its human reek, perhaps. The dogs and cats, bribed with food and attention, continue to tolerate us. Of course, the insects remain. They must carry out their task of punishment, after all. I still feel a desire for some grand gesture of nature's wrath, though. I wish to see lightning. It fails to strike, despite the array of tempting targets. Maybe if I sacrifice an SUV, something will happen. I grow impatient. This year has been too long.