Friday, August 1, 2008

What Does 104 Degrees Look Like?

As we were traveling through the country in an air-conditioned vehicle today (Thank You, God), the temperatures this afternoon were hovering between 104 and 106 degrees outside. So not wanting to go outside and paint (so what, am I nuts?), I thought I would take some pictures so that you could see just what heat looks like. You will notice you see no people in these photos and very few cars.
Cottonwood trees are like the sentinels of the plains. Their structure very often has multiple trunks, and they grow quite rapidly, but as you might imagine with the fast growth, they are not strong trees and oftentimes and early fall or late spring heavy snow will break their limbs or even cause one of the trunks to fall. However, on this hot August day it wasn't snowing.

It wasn't too hot for cows though, and we saw quite a few today. Now yesterday when there were ponds scattered around, we sometimes saw the cows standing in the ponds. Today there were no ponds, just circular metal storage containers, and frequently the cattle were gathered around closeby.

I'm saying it wasn't too hot for cows, but then I didn't stick around to watch and see if any of them keeled over after we passed. Also, I know that people who are familiar with the bovine genus do not refer to them as cows, but I am a city girl, and they moo; hence, they are cows.

Another common sight on The Great Plains of the USA is the grain elevator. These stately white structures can be seen for miles and miles on a nice, clear, hot day like today.

So what can we surmise from these photos to describe how 104 degrees looks? Nobody human is outside if they can help it. Cows are pretty much stuck with it to do what cows do. Depending where you are, there has either been enough rain for the grassland to be still green or so little it has already been bleached out by the sun, and the more dried out it looks, the hotter it feels. No matter how you look at it though, the foliage cannot be described as lush. The skies are almost cloudless. Does this describe what 104 degrees looks like? All of the above photos were taken in Oklahoma or Kansas on August 1, 2008. They will make nice reference material for later paintings.

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