By Bruce Stambaugh
At this time of year, I especially like to frequent one particular lofty spot a few miles from home in the township where I live in Ohio’s Amish country. The view alone keeps me inspired, thankful and refreshed.
From there I watch the sky dotted with patches of cottony clouds tease the earth. Sun and shadows ripple across golden wheat shocks, lush rows of cornstalks, and ripening honey-colored oats. Green alfalfa already blankets the floor where the shocks stand.
I look west far across the Killbuck Valley to the up sloping hills miles away. Tin topped roofs twinkle in the morning light as the clouds and sun play their game of tag.
Turning east, Berlin bustles with the business of tourists and locals alike. Even with binoculars, I couldn’t see the money exchanging of course. It just does as cash is traded for fresh peaches and cucumbers and t-shirts.
All the while I unknowingly entertain a family of Barn Swallows teetering and twittering on a power line. Eastern Meadowlarks fly their funny flight from fence post to nest, gurgling all the way.
Back home, the House Wrens begin their second nesting in the ceramic nest bottle hung up for them. The adult Baltimore Orioles lead their fledglings to the grape jelly feeder, encouraging them to partake. The young just squeak and childishly flap their wings.
The Eastern Bluebirds carefully attend their bright blue eggs in the box attached to the old clothesline pole. A bowl of fine grasses and soft pine straw caress the delicate eggs. It’s their second clutch, too.
The Chimney Swifts are as active as any time since they arrived in early April. Their young prattle their pleasure each time the parents swoop into the chimney with a force that rattles the fireplace doors.
The birds made quick work of the ripened black raspberries while we were away for a few days. They left their thank you notes where I was sure to find them, splattered on the sidewalk.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
At my neighbors, the Purple Martins hold court discussing their eventual departure. Too soon, they’ll join the orioles and others on their long journey.
Other symptoms also point to the fact that we indeed are halfway through the summer. Queen Anne’s Lace, bulbous red clover blossoms, and cerulean chicory blooms decorate even the busiest country road.
Well-attended domestic flower gardens are in full bloom. Roses have replaced tulips, and dainty poppies with pastel crepe paper petals wave in gentle summer breezes. Fragrant milkweed flowers sweeten the air, attracting bees, butterflies, and other assorted insects.
The first tomatoes, like green golf balls, swell on the vines. Warm nights and bright sunshine will soon transform them into juicy redheads if the rains return.
I got a surprise verification of summer’s peak from a rare source. I encountered a small wagon train of folks traveling the local roads. They have done so in early July for 22 years now. The troupe from northwest Ohio camps at local farms always energized by the hearty welcome they receive.
Towns and civic organizations hold annual festivals to celebrate the season of plenty. They also try to make a little money while they’re at it.
The heart of summer beats loud, strong, and sure this time of year. I love to take its pulse. Its healthy palpations are life-giving, uplifting, invigorating, and transforming.
This summit of summer enables us to appreciate all of life’s goodness. Let’s enjoy the momentous moments before they wane.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2016