Pennsylvania Game News - July 2017 - 61
By Marcia Bonta
ULY, LIKE JANUARY, is the most
extreme month of its season, and
during both months I must adapt to
challenging weather if I want to walk our
trails and observe wildlife.
In January, when the wind is howling
and it's 10 degrees, I wait until midmorning to venture outside, swathed in several
In July, I try to be abroad by 8:30 a.m.,
dressed in the lightest attire possible.
That used to mean shorts and a tank
top. But now that ticks have arrived on our
mountain, I wear a long-sleeved shirt and
long, beige-colored, Permethrin-soaked
pants, which I tuck into light-colored
socks. Then, I put a wide-brimmed hat
over my short hair and I'm off.
Last July, the heat and humidity was
more debilitating than usual. Even 8:30
was too late a start on many days for
someone as heat-adverse as I am.
My husband Bruce suggested I get
up at 5 a.m., grab a cup of coffee and go,
rather than rising an hour later, and first
completing my normal hour of back and
neck exercises and eating breakfast.
That's how I became a connoisseur
Most dawns, I rushed the quartermile up to the spruce grove and Alan's
Bench at the top of Sapsucker Ridge.
One morning the sky was golden and
lit up the trees along the trail. On another
a rosy-fingered dawn predicted a clear,
hot day ahead.
Near the end of July, I watched the sky
turn from gold to rose and finally pink
before I reached Alan's Bench.
A sudden light flashed on the horizon as the sun appeared over Nittany
Mountain, heralded by the drumbeat of
a pileated woodpecker and the witchedy,
witchedy call of a common yellowthroat.
As soon as it crested the mountain, I
looked away from that "burning eye" that
makes life on earth possible.
Instead, I sought the sanctuary of the
forest as it filtered the fierce light through
its green film of leaves.