It’s been pretty scorching hot around the ranch these days, and I’ll tell you it’s not because of the sexy outfits I’ve been wearing to stay cool.
No, that’s not it at all. It’s just typical late July/early August for you. But you have to appreciate a place on the map where in the matter of six months you can experience a 130 degree weather shift.
I will be remembering this past weekend of 90+ temperatures when I am in my seven layers topped off with a hooded down parka that reaches my ankles.
Oh yes, I will remember.
But this morning as the thermometer stretches toward 80 degrees and it is only 8 am, I am remembering 30 below…and thinking no matter what, I like summer better. Hands down.
Because after a long, hot day where we’ve watched the sun emerge from the horizon and make its merry little way across the sky, beating down on our lawns and flower beds, sweating up our skin as we stand there, coaxing the flies to buzz around our ears and the corn in the east to stretch its arms a little higher, we sigh and sip our iced tea knowing that in a few hours we may be awarded a sweet reprieve. A breath. A sigh. A little cool-off before we hastily throw some burgers on the grill at dark and crawl under the sheets.
I call it the magic hour.
Others call it evening. Sunset. Dusk. Twilight. It’s that fleeting time where the sun moves slowly toward the west side of the world, promising soon to sink below the horizon, but not before it casts long shadows, turns the hilltops to gold, calls out the dragonflies, kisses the coulees with cool air, and fills our nostrils with the scents of crisp clover, wildflowers and grasses.
It’s the perfect time to grab your horse and head for the hills. Because if it was a windy day, the witching hour calms the breeze. If it was a hot and muggy day you might find yourself some cloud cover at the cusp of an oncoming thunder storm. If it was a sunny, 80+ day and you are out during the perfect time, you will literally feel the temperature dropping around you and your skin cool down as you ride or walk in and out of the draws and up the hill to catch the sunset.
And when we’re cooled down we climb up to the nearest hill to see if we can catch a deer as it moves out of the trees to graze among the clover, to watch the dragonflies dart and dive, to catch the moment when the landscape turns from a painting with all the right highlights to a mysterious shadow with a strip of orange hovering above it.