I lie on my back, binoculars focused, and spy on the universe overhead. It’s a kaleidoscope of leaves made up of oddities: red oak leaves reduced to delicate filigree skeletons by hungry caterpillars. White oak leaves dotted with concentric rings of whatever fungal spores have landed and lodged. Black gum leaves sprouting spindles of red galls sheltering tiny mites. A strand of silk catches my eye, and I watch a spider slowly descend to the ground from a branch forty feet high. I turn my binoculars towards the sound of a woodpecker looking for lunch, but he stays hidden on the backside of his tree. A small flock of goldfinches move through; a black vulture circles over the treetops; sunlight shines through the feathers of a red-shouldered hawk high in the sky. We’re coming to the end of dog days. Soon more will be expected of me than lounging comfortably in mid-day heat, examining green canopy. But not yet. ~K

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We depart from the main boat dock at Devils Fork State Park, Salem SC, 28676