The Good Old Days: Changing sounds of summer
When the hot, lazy days of July were coming to an end, my mother would say, “When you hear the sound of katydids chanting in the night, it is a warning that summer is passing.”
I am surprised when people say they pay little or no attention to the sounds of summer. I was fortunate. I learned about the changing sounds of summer from my mother growing up in Bozrah.
Our family lived next to a pond owned by Gus Lorentz. The pond was surrounded by winding paths and tall oaks. My mother and I would often walk the dirt path that embraced the pond like a mother holding a child.
Gus allowed neighbors and friends to walk and fish freely on his property. I can still see him standing in the setting sun, his skin brown from paving driveways and roads, his eyes filled with compassion.
“There’ll never be any fences on my land,” he would say proudly.
All the neighbors respected and loved Gus, and in his honor they named the pond “Gus’s Pond.”
Walking around the pond was especially beautiful in late summer. Along the way, my mother would pick flowers, and soon she held a bouquet of goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and brown-eyed Susan in her hands.
Sometimes she would pause, and we would listen to the low trill of black field crickets singing in the bush, or admire the buzz-sawing of cicadas high in treetops.
On a whimsical note, when I was very young, I often thought the buzzing of cicadas was a hardworking dwarf sawing wood in the forest.
Much later, as the day turned to night, Gus’s wife Anna would sit outside on her patio. We would join and listen to the katydids produce short, perfectly spaced trills. The heat of the hot July day would often produce a warm breeze at night.
On many a night, the moon seemed suspended over the pond by an invisible string reflecting a surreal image over the top of the water. The clouds hung close to the moon, shimmering colors of pink and orange.
The stars appeared to go on forever looking down at us with love, never judgment.
After we arrived home and I was safely tucked in bed, I laid awake and listened to the bullfrogs. They sounded as if they were chanting the word “jug-o-rum!” over and over.
There was always some sound to be heard in middle of summer: the chirping of crickets, birds singing, bullfrogs croaking, and the crunching of leaves and pine needles underfoot.
I still believe the sound of cicadas is magical and look forward to hearing them every summer. The changing sounds of summer are as fleeting as summer itself. If you have not heard, now is the time to listen.
Enjoy the rest of the summer…
Concetta Falcone-Codding is a 1971 graduate of the Norwich Free Academy and the author of “The Lonely Nest.” You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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