Thursday, August 6, 2009

Midsummer's Dreaming

High summer. Although I could do without the mosquitoes and high humidity, this is really my favorite time of year. On sunny days, dog-day cicadas hum in the trees from noon until dusk. On cloudy days, gray tree frogs take over the chorus. Usually by this time of the season, the grass has turned brown and crunches underfoot, but this year we have had more than our share of rain, leaving everything green and lush.

There is a certain smell in the air now, especially at night. The trees are long past the blossoming stage, their flowers withered and blown away, and a new fragrance wafts through the yards. It's the smell of skunk cabbage and cut grass, vegetable gardens and clean sheets hung on backyard clotheslines. It is the fragrance of ferns, mushrooms and muddy riverbanks. It's the warm smell of summer in the Northeast.

Birds and dragonflies dart in crazy trajectories through the airspace of Catbird Heaven, and cottontail bunnies graze in the late afternoon on the clover and dandelions, while tufts of lacey, white cloud drift lazily across a deep blue sky.

Often, if I have a few free hours, I go for a short drive to my parent's house and I float on my back for a while in their small, crystal-clear pool, staring up at the branches of the oak trees that surround it. I watch the birds play tag among the green leaves, which are gilded by the mid-afternoon sunlight, and I admire the dappled patterns of light that dance on the water.

Last night, the full "Sturgeon" moon glowed pink as it hung low in the hazy sky. Snow crickets trill in the gardens after dark, and Rigby washes her feet in the dew that soaks the lawn at night and lingers into the morning.

I'm trying to take a little time every day and drink my fill of this season; to breathe it in and let it become part of me, so it will never leave.
I know that in the cold, dark heart of January, it will be nothing but a sweet and distant memory.


  1. I love to float on my back. I cross my legs and put my hands behind my neck and I find it an incredible way to meditate. Sometimes lifeguards yell at me to see if I'm okay. Funny to me, as I am perfectly fine.

    I envy your green and lush. We are burned up. I'm afraid to venture out to my garden.

  2. Gosh. That is so evocative of the days of high summer that I always imagine but seldom experience. My summers in Scotland are, of course, completely different but my summers in New Zealand are full of cicadas and warm sunny days but without the sort of heat that you describe. I could actually feel your description. And then I accidentally fell in the pool!

  3. The summer days are so short (the season) and so precious I treasure them too! Up at the lake however, summer has been just a word we all toss around. No heat for the hummingbirds, ripe tomatoes or getting a tan - very unseasonably cool, fall-like - very, very strange!

  4. I absolutely love your description. Well done!

  5. What a beautiful post. You've made me nostalgic for my midwest summers.

  6. You have me with you all the way..I feel this season as you do..I'm in the beautiful park (CentralPark)for a run every morning..only 3 days when it rained being one of them..monumental trees so lush, what a summer..I promise to go out in the cold..we'll see!

  7. Wonderful post Deedee! What a beautiful picture you paint with your words. I felt all my senses come alive as I read it!

  8. Love your description of the NE summer. What makes it a "Sturgeon" moon? Do the big fish run up the rivers to spawn then, or?

  9. Thank you all for your kind words!

    EcoRover, the moon names like Sturgeon, Snow, Buck and Beaver come to us from the native tribes of the northern and eastern U.S. Our local weather forecasters always mention them at the time of the full moon. I believe they were chosen according to natural occurences taking place during a particular month. In August, the indian people caught an abundance of sturgeon. August is also known as the Full Red Moon, because the hazy sky makes it look red or pink as it rises.