I’m not a fan of summer. It’s too hot for my taste, as well as far too sticky and sunny. I’m an autumn girl, but the South doesn’t know what a real autumn is. We get four seasons of summer around here: Summer, Post-Summer, Damp Summer, and Pre-Summer. Yes, winter is just damp summer around here.
Summer has grown on me over the years. It used to be that I wouldn’t step foot outside in the summer unless compelled to do so by activities I didn’t necessarily sign up for. Recently, though, after traveling in hotter countries than mine and living for weeks without air conditioning, I’ve learned to tolerate the heat. In fact, now I’m more likely to get too cold than too warm. I like the feel of the sun on my shoulders, and I’ve lost my aversion to sweating and humidity.
But I’ve always loved the sounds of a southern summer.
It’s the cicadas, mostly. I’ve always loved the sound of humming cicadas. Daytime finds them joining in a great swelling chorus line, humming together under the direction of some unseen conductor. At night, the crickets join them, their silvery notes making the air hum and shimmer with the sounds of childhood dreams.
Then there’s the sound of summer thunder, rolling and deep. The thunder sounds of summer are warmer and thicker than the rattling thunder of winter and spring. Winter and spring storms are aggressive, overassertive. Summer storms are here to stay. They don’t feel the need to make a name for themselves. They come and they sit, rumbling away like a disgruntled neighbor rambling about politics. Angry, but resigned.
It’s the crickets that charm me most. Cricket song always meant something magical was about to happen. Fireflies came out with the crickets. Firecrackers, too, and fireworks. Bonfires and marshmallows came out with the crickets. And watermelons and grill smoke. Crickets brought all these things to summertime. They sang me to sleep, and when they stopped it was time to get up and play.
Night in, night out, until autumn came and chased them all away.