Escaping the noon soon, I enter the cool woods. Here everything is dark and subdued. It is the third week of middle summer, a quiet space between the forest’s seasons, most the late spring and early summer flowers gone, none of the late summer flowers blooming.
May apples have toppled over, foliage dappled with yellow. Leafcup plants have been eaten off by deer, will bloom as they recover. Soft, wet moss on a fallen tree glows in the twilight beneath the canopy.
Ohio environmental officials will begin studying the Stillwater River watershed this year to monitor the quality of the river that passes through parts of Ohio and Indiana.
The state scenic river is part of the Great Miami River watershed. It flows 67 miles from its headwaters in Indiana and northern Darke County in western Ohio through Miami County to the Great Miami River in Dayton.
I walk into the woods and pastures to touch middle summer, finding August’s white snakeroot with huge buds, wood nettle with its petals, wingstem ready to open, parsnips half to seed, but still flowering enough to make part of the field yellow, while the other part is white with daisy fleabane. Wild onions are blooming. Virginia roses still bright pink. Prickly buckeye fruits, an inch in diameter, are hanging from the trees.
The amount of waste from the shale gas and oil drilling process injected into disposal wells in Ohio is continuing to rise.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says that 14.2 million barrels of fluids and other waste from the process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - were injected into disposal wells in the state in 2012. That was up 12 percent from the previous year.
When thistles come undone, then middle summer has arrived, and all the middle-summer flowers are in bloom. Purple loosestrife, lizard’s tail, Queen Anne’s lace, purple coneflower, wild petunia, bouncing bet, dayflower, sow thistle, white vervain, dogbane, black-eyed Susan, square-stemmed germander, pokeweed, St. John’s wort, teasel, touch-me-not, lopseed and avens are all blossoming in the woods and fields.