Hot Summer on the Bayou

Raindrops Falling on Our Heads

June 24, 2024

It was a misty morning just after dawn. The summer solstice had occurred at 3:50 p.m. the day before. The drive along the Picnic Loop in Houston’s Memorial Park was so darkly lush and green it was almost unrecognizable. The sandy footpath through the bayou woods was mucky. The shadowy woods were wet, the trees and bushes dripping. A squirrel shook a branch overhead and showered us with sparkling raindrops. We laughed. We were headed to that spot on the high bank overlooking Buffalo Bayou to take our summer photo of the bend. (See the entire series throughout the seasons of the last ten years.)

Looking downstream from the same high bank on Buffalo Bayou in Houston’s Memorial Park. Photo June 21, 2024, by SC

The muddy river was flowing slightly above base flow at around 750 cubic feet per second. But stopping at one of our usual vantage points, we could hardly see the water through the thicket of greenery. Also, the photographer had slightly miscalculated the sunrise. Rather than arriving late as usual with the sun rising and shining high overhead, we were too early. The sun was lingering behind the trees.

Looking upstream from the high bank of Buffalo Bayou. Photo June 21, 2024, by SC

So we amused ourselves observing a blue damselfly, checking out the still green beautyberries, and listening to the songs of the cardinals, wrens, and cicadas overhead. We slid-stepped down the sandy bank to the nearby creek to watch the clear stream trickling slowly towards the bayou. A small ghostly-white sycamore had fallen. No sign of wild chives or violets on the banks. Likely it was too late in the season. But we did see an abundance of feathery foxtail, sedges, and dayflowers.

Eventually the sun began peeking through and over the tangled woods, lighting up the opposite bank of bayou.

We couldn’t help but think about how hot the previous summer had been, and how hot and humid this summer is already. Last year was the hottest year on record for Houston and the world. This year is likely to be even hotter.


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