rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Hot Summer Days

In other climates, I'm sure, this is the most pleasant time of year. In the north, the long days of brief summer are undoubtedly welcomed. Along the chilly northern coast of California, the high sun illuminates even the floor of the dense redwood groves and allows the seedlings to sprout up. But here, in the inland mountains, it is all heat. In the glades and fields, the grasses turn brown, and the dusty red earth shows between their thinning clumps. There is a plant whose seed pods open with an audible snap. Walking past a field full of these plants in the heat of the day, there is a sound like elfin corn popping. Since I came to this place, that has become, for me, the characteristic sound of summer.

On streets such as mine, with their irrigated yards, the summer remains green. Looking across the road, I see dozens of shades of green, and, as the light shifts, the shades of green change all day. There are the dark greens of shadowed spots within the plants, and the brighter greens of leaves struck by direct sunlight, and the more subtle bright greens of backlit leaves, and the green of the maturing oak leaves which, reflecting the light, become a brilliant grey-green. A breeze sets all the shades of green rippling and wavering. It is very restful.

Later, when the angle of the sun is lower, most of the scene will be cast in shadow, and only a few bright spots will be picked out by shafts of light falling through the pines and oaks. The houses will lurk in the green shade, and there will be the sound of chittering lawn sprinklers, and birds will come to bathe in the bright spray. That is when summer becomes the best time of year here, as well.

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