As I look down the hill from our dining room window, I think back to those lovely Spring days when leaves were sparse and dogwood in bloom could be seen scattered through the woods below.

       Now the hot and steamy days of July, August and September are upon us. The Allen Woods are thick with Summer's leaves. No longer can we count on that lush Spring-green color. What greets my eyes today are the darker, more mature green leaves of Summer. I have to chuckle as I look across the yard. Once again, one of the trees along the edge of the woods is sporting its lone branch of bright red leaves. The rest of the tree is indistinguishable from its neighbors. This aberration has occurred every year for as long as I can remember. Who knows why? It will take til Fall for the rest of the trees in our woods to catch up with it.

       A balmy breeze begins to rustle through the woods. It appears among those huge oaks and hickories down by the creek and it quickly wends its way up the hill until all the trees in its path seem to be swaying with delight. They act as though they are happy to shake free some of the steaminess the hot summer sun has radiated down on them all day.

       The path through the woods can scarcely be seen now. Leaf-laden branches and huckleberry bushes obscure most of it. Nevertheless, sunbeams pierce the canopy of leaves. Here and there, one can see secluded glades and other secret places to daydream about.

       From time to time, our woods-walkers still take the path down through the woods to inspect the creek that can now no longer be seen from the house. They return with exciting tales of new lady-slipper patches and snake sightings. In their hands they bring samples of swamp roses and various wildflowers and ferns. Mom brings out her books to help identify them and then slips them into a vase for all to enjoy.

       In the evening some of the braver denizens of the woods venture out from the safety of the trees to sample the succulent plantain and violet leaves that pass for grass in our backyard. Late at night one can sometimes hear the raccoons tumbling around the garbage cans in hopes of dislodging a top and gaining a quick meal. As we dream of cooler days, the dragonflies, lightning bugs, mosquitoes, butterflies and a variety of bees and birds claim the land. Above the trees glide the hawks in search of lunch and sometimes beautiful herons whose nests are down in the swampy areas of the creek can be seen winging their way above the treetops. Something tells me that the lazy hazy days of Summer have arrived once more to the banks of...


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