Everything reaches its zenith in July.

The sun swings to its peak in the sky, pausing before retreating in its arc. Shrubbery, trees, and garden, even the lowly weed, revel is downy youth.

Hot summer afternoons fill with the sound of children at the pool, racing to catch the ice cream truck, the buzz of mosquitoes, power saws, neighbors mowing.

All summer sounds reach this cocoon of hammock stretched out under the sheltering shade of the oak. The cricket and cardinal preach their summer sermons. Soon the full-throated cry of cicada with all its missionary fever will join this summer Chautauqua.

Gone are the floral notes of spring, replaced by the heady scents of summer: coconut suntan oil; sun-burned, sweat-soaked skin, chlorine, campfires, and burgers on the grill.

Out there, a flurry of activity: fireworks, parades, festivals. Here in this blissed pause of July, there is a hammock, thick book, cold drink, long nap.

Mind swings from one thought to the next in a lazy, hazy summer way of cattle lowing in the meadow, berries ripening on the hill, the slow waxing, and waning of the moon.

The trees applaud July’s performance. The brook murmurs its approval. The book lowers to chest, eyelids heavy; a pause

a July Pause.