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I’m having a weekend of gratefuls, because it’s so freakin’ hot.

I could stay home and complain, but I’m working on facing the things that make me uncomfortable.

High humidity, temps over 100, searing sun … these all make me uncomfortable.

So I’m hydrating and staying cool by searching for new places with shade to hike. This requires some driving, because it seems everything in our valley is scorching.

Solitary stretch of Hwy. 138. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

 Ahhhh … I am grateful to have left the city. I am grateful for the heavy, summer scent of evergreens, especially the Douglas firs along Hwy. 138.

I’m grateful to discover the Northern Umpqua River. Meditating by the riverbank cools by heat-weary mind too.

Chilling by the N. Umpqua. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

The trails are short; the air is far cooler here; and with the luxury of time to chill, we compare the color of water where it’s clear and shallow, where it’s rushing and foaming,  and where it’s still.  I’m grateful for the August green of this water.

Another day, another, shorter drive. I’m grateful for the rush of cool, morning air on my face, and grateful to discover the Valley of the Rogue State Park.

We’re big fans of state parks — seeing our tax dollars put to healthy, common good — and enjoy seeing how everyone shares the respite of nature away from cities. There are families here, with toddlers in diapers racing through sprinklers; there are young couples and elder couples, holding hands while walking in the shade.

We’re especially happy to see several people with disabilities using a paved trail near the Rogue River, despite the high heat. I am grateful for accessibility. I am grateful that this quiet, cool place is open to everyone.

Shady riverbank, Valley of the Rogue State Park. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

I’m grateful for all our discoveries along the waterside trail — wild blackberries, olive trees, and vines sprouting plump, green grapes. I’m grateful for the small bunny that crossed our path, and yes, even the smaller snake.

Wildflowers were wilting in the heat, but just when I thought I might start whining about the afternoon sun, my lover presented a sprig of blossoms.

We laughed that a burst of pink near the water could be such a relief — and then he laughed when I insisted on a photo of his gallantry.

Yes, I’m having a weekend of gratefuls because it’s so freakin’ hot.

A sprig of wildflowers in summer. (Kathleen Kenna photo)