The trees are thick and knobby this side of the forested thicket, sway to the side in terrific sighs, and lurch back after a gust of wind. Birds gather in upper branches to chatter and plot, as the sun filters through greenery. The forest floor remains thick with pine needles, slippery; seemingly undisturbed old withering tree trunks – hollowed out – hum with small furry rumblings and insect buzzings.

The air wafts thick with leaves and haze, with webs falling down and delicately constructed, and nests tightly woven, brown dots in upper tree realms. The sky shines a cerulean and clear this afternoon with shadows stretching longer inside shaded forests.

Emerging to the shoreline offers a fresh breath, a sandy repose, the soothing lulls of waves delivering crashes to the sea grass with timed precision. Water recedes, pulled back toward the center, toward boats coursing and jet skis racing across the horizon. As the sun grazes onward to the western hills, a noisy gathering of gulls line the sand, webbed feet warmed and teetering from water to shore, feathers ruffling to flight, searching food sources.

Green kelp has churned forward onto shore, scooped up from aggressive late-day waves, a premonition of a storm-filled night ahead. Sandy dunes are soaked with fresh hot drops of a summer shower, and grey clouds cover the sun, dulling light, muting colors to a neutral slate. As the wind increases, the gulls retreat, toward shafts of light farther on the lake.

A trail through woods and thickets brings momentary shelter until even woodland furry creatures are caught in the downpour’s momentum. White puffy clouds chase the rain to the lake, allowing the sun a hued filter for setting. The evening approaches slowly, then all at once, a darkening proved subtle and sinewy, beauty arrayed upon a canvas of the sky. Only the clouds offer prime sunsets, a place for which the paintbrush to whisk upon, for the wind to whisper color across the once-blue sky.

The clouds are filters for the sun’s rays, which beam boldly as though a proclamation were announced. As black sky advances on the pink and purple strains, the gulls further retreat, the green becomes darkness, the wood and stones all incomprehensible in darkness. Stars find a quiet audience in the depth of night.