California Hills in August
I can imagine someone who found these fields unbearable, who climbed the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust, cracking the brittle weeds underfoot, wishing a few more trees for shade. An Easterner especially, who would scorn the meagerness of summer, the dry twisted shapes of black elm, scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape August has already drained of green. One who would hurry over the clinging thistle, foxtail, golden poppy, knowing everything was just a weed, unable to conceive that these trees and sparse brown bushes were alive. And hate the bright stillness of the noon without wind, without motion, the only other living thing a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended in the blinding, sunlit blue. And yet how gentle it seems to someone raised in a landscape short of rain – the skyline of a hill broken by no more trees than one can count, the grass, the empty sky, the wish for water.