As the incessant heat continues to build, most living things retreat further into dark, shady and moist corners of this Andalusian ecology.
During the day, the medicine spot sits seemingly abandoned by all animate life under the sheer weight of these canicular days.
Like the wildlife, my rhythms are increasingly tuned into the dawn, the dusk, and the relative cool of night. I find myself more and more drawn to lake by the mountain.
Suddenly, it barks out a startling alarm call and flies towards me in that long loping wing beat typical of all the larger birds.
My attention is now drawn to the forest on the lower slopes of the mountain – something is clearly moving under those trees heading down to the lakes edge to drink at this time of sunset.
From disturbance to arrival, it takes some two minutes and almost on cue, a red deer shyly looks out from beneath the trees and surveys the lakes edge.
Slowly and with great trepidation, she almost tiptoes down to the life giving water and begins to drink deeply of its sweet sustaining nectar.
Her thirst sated, she then begins to graze the green strip of vegetation that flanks the lake like a verdant garland.
Then as the sun dips further down, her coat is transformed into burnished and glimmering copper. She stands, head held up in a brazen wild magnificence and is transformed momentarily into a creature of myth and fable.
All too quickly, the suns sinks beneath the horizon and she is lost amongst the lengthening shadows of the trees.
Soon, she will become nothing more than a ghostly nocturnal rustle of leaf and snap of twig and another of the invisible nightwalkers of this ancient landscape.
Photo: Lake Almodovar. Courtesy of the author.