Empty blue and stillness, leaves drooping like panting dog tongues. I stuck to the shade the way my clothes stuck to my skin. So many birds this year. I watched a jay on the lawn, pecking and pecking. A few insects flew about, translucent wings catching the sunlight. Once in a while, one of them would fly near the bird, and the bird would leap from the ground with a flutter of wings and snatch the small bright spot from midair. Day dragged on, drawing ripples of heat from the vacant pavements. I dozed in thoughts of white clouds over glittering green sea, and awaited the emergence of the pale crescent moon and the cooling breezes of evening. The crickets announced their arrival as a shiny black beetle crawled across my foot. Larks fluttered away to their nests, and the empty trees turned to shadows among stars. The forest has survived another withering day.