Walking in the summer is an undertaking. I have a rule to walk at least two miles a day and ideally four miles a day. Generally, I go out in the morning and the evening. I sometimes go out in the middle of the day, but not for long, and it’s most certainly a shaded place. This morning the mist was thick by the river, and there was only one other car in the lot. I saw another person for a moment as I crested the steep hill. I didn’t see them again after that.
The cicadas are out, and you can hear their buzz start early on. Birds flock to the wineberry bushes, startling loudly when I walk by. They are gorging on the fruit, which is at the end of its run. The wineberries are large and soft, slipping off the bushes, and you find them on the trail as you go.
My mind was blank as I walked. It takes a while to get to this place, and sometimes it doesn’t even happen. I smelled the air: a bit of fox musk, the faint rot of the drying swamp beds, and a rich mushroom smell. As soon as I would walk into a sunny patch there was the sound of swarming flies. Never a soothing sound. The amount of growth is amazing, exponential. The vines climb the trees everywhere.
The air is thick and dense, even high above the silvery Hudson River. It’s moments like these that I start to think of the fall and the winter. I use the memories of cold to remind myself of the good parts of summer—the thick, green trees bending in the hot wind, making that shushing sound. Or the amazing clouds stretching across the sky, changing constantly. Or the simple and exquisite generosity—so generous it can fall to the trail and rot on the ground—of sweet berries and wild mushrooms.