The grass has faded from brilliant green to sun-washed. The horse's shine is muted as well in the glare of the mid-day sun.
It is the time of summer when the lack of rain is felt keenly, even as the air is humid. There are no half-measures in Kentucky weather. This far south of the land of my birth there is no breeze off the lake to temper the heat. The river provides humidity enough to make it feel hotter. The breeze has a hot edge to it that nips the skin.
The rains of early summer are gone. The haying season is in full swing, bales dry in golden rolls or are transported like giant fraying pumpkins in wagons and trailers.
Yet it is beautiful. The trees thrive in this heat - they spread their graceful limbs and their leaves shudder in the hot breath of the wind. Shade is dear, the flies busy and even the rooster is silent in the heat.
I watch the chickens scratch and sunbathe, quarrel and pace the fence, wanting out even in the heat. But I'm going to protect my flowers from their digging. If they would stay in the pasture I'd let them run, but they like my flower garden. They dig at the feet of my day-lilies - the only blooming flower - hidden in the arching leaves.
The steady hum of the AC tells me that it's too soon for evening stables - the chores would be miserable, even the open barn stifling.
But I have errands to run, I must brave the heat.