Summer in the South

Screeching cicadas, singing crickets, humming winged insects and infuriating, buzzing mosquitoes, hot air, warm breezes. I'm walking through cotton fields, not close to harvesting yet but full of large, supple, deep green leaves. Cream and fuchsia buds are curled closed, some are open, full and dainty, hidden in leaves or popping out in colorful display amongst the green expanse of the cotton fields. Katydids jumping and startling the snot outta me.

I like to let my mind drift, wander, letting my thoughts flow as I drive down a country road with tall oaks bowing overtop, like a tunnel with quickly dancing, dappled sunbeams, in search of good light...a beautiful composition, some interesting subject matter. It's one of my favorite places to be....nowhere, not knowing where I'm at or where I'm going, just simply letting my inner compass and curiosity guide my route.

I usually end up at my favorite cotton fields. Acres and acres of cotton plants. When I first moved to South Carolina, these were the first cotton plants I had ever seen. At first I didn't know what they were. They sort of looked similar to soy plants (those I was used to seeing in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia). But I suspected that they might be cotton so I would periodically drive out to see if there were any white, fluffy cotton balls forming. Sure enough, there they were! I was so excited because I had never had the opportunity to see a cotton plant before and I had always wanted to see a field white with cotton. Now, every summer and fall, I make my way out to these vast fields to catch the stages of this plant as it grows and blossoms.

The land out there is flat and expansive and the sky is big with 360 views. Perfect for catching a sunset or a moonrise. I let my outstretched hand brush the lush leaves of the cotton plants as I leisurely walk hip-deep through the rows and the intense warm glow of the early evening sun lights up the landscape. That's my favorite light. Focusing my lens on peachy summer haze all while trying to ignore the stirring mosquitoes.

It's absolutely glorious.

It's quiet out there. Sometimes a bicyclist will go riding by as slow as the setting sun over hot farmland. It's usually an older gentleman on a vintage bike, dressed in shiny, copper velour, an old fedora atop tight, curly silver hair.

Color spreads across the sky, an ombre fade from orange to purple. The night is setting in. All insects reach their crescendo as if to give a last exalting shout to the day's sun before the world turns dark for another sleep.

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