Introduction

WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Carolina Summer

I miss the sun. I miss the bright shining summer-days-on-end when it's just non-stop heat... glaring, blank relentless heat baking everything. When the heat from yesterday seems to add to the heat of today and the humidity is thick and sticky you can taste. Warm air you can feel on your forearms and neck as you walk through the yard. Wet and green and mixed with the smell of cut grass and dirt, pine sap and soapy laundry hanging on the line...everything all together, all at once, all over you in a thick summer soup.

I miss seeing the heat radiating off the empty black top country roads and the faint stench of a dead animal off somewhere to the side... where? No matter, it makes you look. Way outside of town, late on a Saturday afternoon folks have stopped doing much of anything... just sitting on the front porch now, maybe having a lemonade. The occasional car passes. A hand held out the window waves. The horses are gathered under that shade-tree far out in the middle of the field. The grass needs a good bush-hog. Wonder when the last time they used that ole tobacco barn... the red-rusted tin roof is bent and warped like boulders from the heavens have fallen on it. Once the water gets in, she's a goner.

The rank, acrid smell of standing water from a dark bog along the bottom of a shadowy hollow, down by the single-lane bridge, just over a spooky creek. You can see catfish two feet long weaving back and forth through the deep spots. Must be twenty of 'em down there now. It's too hot for birds, but the cicadas are starting to buzz on and off and there's a family snappin' turtles sunnin' on an old log over by the far bank.

Driving hard and fast up the steep hills and feeling the car lift just at the crest. Then dropping down hard again and down faster, faster as the car bottoms out and suddenly the rush of cool air before you bounce back up the other side, heading out of the shade, back into the glaring sun with thick pines a hundred feet tall on both sides of the road. Racing fast, windows down, wind roaring. Rusty with worn tires, bad shocks, rattles like Hell, but damn she’s a classic!

And then late in the day... as the air is cooling slightly, coming across the top of a wide ridge the sun sits in a yellow haze just over the tree tops and off in the distance, across a dry rutted field dogs are barking, a screen door slams and you can hear kids laughing. A mother hollers something inaudible.

Bright southern summer sun in your eyes… there's no place like it.