I can tell a change is coming.
It’s been warm to just-plain-hot ever since July, and no rain. At all. We’ve had the blessing of some nice, cool evenings and nights, but generally there’s been no relief in the dry spell. We’re usually quite aware of our water use, here on the side of the mountain, but we’re even more aware of it lately. There is one minor benefit, though: the ‘turbidity’, or cloudiness, of the water is almost zero. The water coming from way down in the rock is crystal, crystal clear. It does taste a bit harder because of the rock, though.
But I can feel a change coming.
This morning when I walked the dogs to the end of the road to get the paper, you could tell that change was in the air. The ground radiated heat and the ambient temperature would have been about 75° had there been no wind, but it was 68° on the thermometer; but all of this was the warning of yet another hot day to come. However, this cooler air coming from the mountains – much cooler, about ten to fifteen degrees cooler – gave the walk an interesting feel. Your feet were hot from the ground, yet you needed to wear a sweater because of the cool breeze.
The sun was still a half hour from rising, and I could hear the calls of raptors – close by came the comfortable familiar hoot of a Great Horned Owl. On the far side of the upper meadow came the nerve-jangling shriek of a Barn Owl.
I wished them both good hunting as the mice have been infuriatingly active this summer, and turned down the road with the dogs.
The dust right now is both invasive and pervasive. It isn’t worth taking the time to shine your shoes because in ten minutes they’ll be dull again. Yeah, it’s that bad.
But there are things abounding to be enjoyed. On my walk down to the paper-box, the moon-dappled passage through the tree-lined section of the unpaved lane was like walking along a Dalmatian’s back. Everywhere the dust’s presence is seen – the grass to the side of the lane, the fence posts, and even in the trees you can see the ever-present dust.
Even so, my Golden Retriever is taking his characteristic turns at each far end of the leash – running ahead to sniff at something immensely fascinating that has obviously changed in great detail since yesterday, and he lingers in his investigations long enough that I eventually pass by, the leash now tightening in the opposite direction; then he finds it pulling insistently at him as I walk onward. Leaving that spot, he bounds ahead as far as the leash will permit, to begin sniffing again.
With the coming change, my old Shetland Sheepdog has a welcome spring in his step, his ears bouncing with youthful energy as he trots along, his desire and ability to maintain a faster pace allowing me to gratefully walk at full speed.
The dogs and I break out of the trees and into the open fields, the canopy of sky above us opening wide and inviting admiration. The stars were dimmed somewhat; seemingly tainted by that same tan dust into lower contrast with the rest of the heavens. Even so, I still cannot look up at them without acknowledging God’s hand in making them.
The footfallen gravel-crunching of our progress eventually brought us to the end of the lane, with the County road crossing beyond; its narrow lanes are now very busy due to a bridge being out. This forces everyone who would normally use the main thoroughfare (which is hundreds of people who live even farther away from town than I do) to now use our little County road. I brought Wheaton (the Golden) up short on the leash to keep him away from the road and out of harm’s way with the same warning I’ve given him since the first day we walked down together: “Death comes out of the silence.” He stands patiently and watches the loud speeding congestion of the overtaxed little County road as I extract the newspaper from its box.
The paper tells of a broiling hot day to come; something that I can feel is going to happen regardless of the official forecast. Tucking The Daily Obvious into my pocket, we start back to begin our day.