By Bill Biddle
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day!
I’ve got a beautiful feeling,
Everything’s going my way!
Summertime, dear, and the livin’ is easy.
Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high.
Yes, summer is here in the Methow Valley – finally! The rivers and creeks and ponds are full of fish, the grass is higher than it has been for years, and the music from Oklahoma and Porgy and Bess will set the scene for a simmering, sumptuous summer.
The valley has two seasons: winter and the Fourth of July. After a very chilly end of June and the first few days of July, the first weekend of July will live up to its summer reputation. A glorious Fourth with a holiday on the fifth! The valley will be teeming with motorcyclists, rafters, hikers, picnickers – and automobile traffic. The snow will finally have melted out of the Rainy Pass picnic area, but will stay on the Rainy Lake trail for another week at least – wear boots on the trail. Snow is still in the mountains, particularly above 6,000 feet. Sunscreen with your glissading is a must!
This will be a month to watch the cirrus and cumulus clouds build every few days in the bright blue sky over the valley. When those cirrus build up for a few days, it is a sure sign of thunderstorms to follow. The first round of t’storms with hail and wind will douse the valley about the middle of the month. Lightning strikes with resounding thunder will pummel the valley. Cloud-to-ground, ground-to-cloud, and cloud-to-cloud lightning will give a light display at night that will be unforgettable.
But that tumultuous extravaganza will be followed by a simmering summer week that is best described by John Clare in the opening lines to his “July” written in 1827:
Daughter of pastoral smells and sighs
And sultry days and dewy nights
July resumes her yearly place
Wi’ her milking maiden face
Ruddy and tannd yet sweet to view.
At the end of July another round of thunder and lightning will pelt the valley, with as much show as the earlier storms. But be ready for strong winds beneath these cumulonimbus clouds!
The month will end rather placidly, but the beginning of August is another matter.
That “matter” and the rest of August?