Quiet July

Buford sniffed: distant rain. The land around him was hot and dry and the dust of the horses was blowing steadily up from the south as the wind began to pick up, and he could see a darkness in the mountains, black sky, a blaze of lightning.”

~The Killer Angels

July is a quiet month. I don’t mean literally, of course. Between thunderstorms, hailstorms, and other mighty forces of nature that tend to scare children, it hardly qualifies as noiseless. I suppose I mean that July encompasses the lush growth, and the vivid and full foliage, at the height of the earth’s growing period. This vibrant flowering, so powerful and ongoing, is, actually, quiet in its way. No trumpets sound to announce the slow uncurling sprouting  of expanding crops, the deep green maturation of deciduous trees, the proliferation of color in open meadows.  But the ceaseless fecundity softens the earth and renders it more peaceful to our eyes.

Typically in Wyoming, July means the green we so greedily imbibe with our eyes throughout the spring is leaving us for the yellow-brown grasses and hazy skies of the high desert summer. We are used to dry and dusty winds, to merciless brilliance from the sky with no hint of moisture. But we have had above average rain this spring and even into this month, and so I’m cherishing our extended foray into green time, which remind me of the breathless, humid, leafy summers of the Midwest. The low rumble of thunder and the smell of damp air are pleasant here.

Recently I hiked with my family on Casper Mountain. It’s lovely anytime, but when the wind’s ferocity has calmed to gentle breezes and its warmth envelopes and comforts, and the wildflowers still bloom, and the  mountain is particularly breathtaking. Yes, mosquitoes are few and shade from the sometimes punishing sun is plentiful.  These are ancillary gifts of July on the mountain. They remind me that this time is short, and I should get outside and enjoy them–gather ye wildflowers, so to speak.

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