Summer’s Swan Song

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a summer purist. I cling on to the last days of summer right up to the autumnal equinox. Although the signs of summer waning appear much earlier. Right around this time, in mid-to-late August, the sounds of summer change. It’s always when I notice the crickets chirping through the night, or at least I can hear them above the perpetual hum of everyone’s air conditioner. The persistent singing of the cicadas in the hazy heat of summer is a favorite of mine. Somehow, the siren song of the male cicada signals the start of summer’s end and also the epitome of this glorious season.

Other favorite sounds of summer include children playing outside. Balls bouncing. Bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades scraping along the pavement. The joyous shrieks, giggles, and talking late into the cooling summer evenings. All these sounds have been there all summer, but they feel different in August. Perhaps it’s because they’re more noticeable now when it’s actually cool enough at night to keep the windows open. Or maybe it’s because I’m more aware of the nights darkening sooner and the slight chill in the mornings.

The weather in August is perfect for ripening tomatoes. Hot, sunny days and dark, cool, longer nights are the magic recipe for making tomatoes red. For weeks we’ve been watching the green tomatoes grow bigger, but not redder. Now, every day we see bright, red tomatoes peeping out of the greenery. I won’t get enough to make tomato sauce this year, but I’ll be gorging myself on tomato everything for a few weeks.

Late last week I opened my curtain one morning to see brown leaves all over the lawn. On Friday I went hiking at a park 30 minutes north. I was surprised to see a blush of red spreading through some of the trees already. Contrary to the relentless, forceful momentum of spring, who arrives despite the occasional blizzard or cold blitz to take center stage, summer seems okay to share the spotlight with fall. As if even summer outdid herself by blazing too bright and too hot for too many days. Days are hot, and even still a little humid. Nights are getting chilly and fall is already starting to turn the leaves, a gentle transition from one season to the next. But summer’s not over yet, we’ve still got three glorious weeks left.

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