One hundred days of torrid summer winds and dearth of rain continue to influence the survival of Llano Estacado flora and fauna. Cooper revels in the pursuit of fresh scent trails laid by prairie dwellers after recent rains. Shade is at a premium on the open plains. In the mind of this weary prairie trekker, the spiny silhouettes of solitary Tree Cholla easily metamorphose into shade trees. Cooper and I savor several brief respites in the embrace of their meager yet comforting umbras. At our last stop I take a few moments to understand the recovering landscape and find great beauty.