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Monday, August 19, 2013

Orchestration - a Rerun


Company for a week.  Internet down for another.  Toss in a pseudo family reunion and our daughter’s 20th birthday and I am way off kilter here.  I'm struggling to catch up.  Here's a repeat from a couple of years ago.  It still works for me.

I love August around here.  It’s a no-brainer that my passion for this month coincides with the anniversary of our daughter’s birth, but in addition, those first-ever middle of the night feedings awakened me to sounds of late summer I’d never paid attention to before.

While growing up, I treated the month with a vague unease.  August supplied plenty of bathing-suit-clad and barefoot amusement, replete with scabbed over mosquito bites acquired during sunset games of Hide and Seek—but the eighth month also meant the horrors of back-to-school shopping and shoe wearing loomed all too close.
 
Long after those days ended for me, I still greeted August with an edgy regret for the endings it engendered—perennials dying in the garden, tinges of yellow on the tomato plants, the hint of red in low lying trees. Then, eighteen years ago, I sat by open windows with a mewing baby in my arms and heard, for the first time really, a nocturnal orchestra that begins mid-month and serenades us until the temperatures cool for good.
  
For the longest time, we assumed the quick and rhythmic pulsing that permeated our August nights were crickets; until recently though, we were never sure.  Lack of knowledge led our little family to christen the high fidelity tempo “The Waa Waaas,” our approximation of the revving, high-pitched heartbeats that gear up just as summer winds down. YouTube research revealed the maestros of this syncopation I’ve come to love could be Katydids—what  I know for sure though is that ever since discovering them during that first sleepless August, I look forward to the waning days of summer, when they assemble to tune their instruments. 

So when we stepped outside this past Sunday night to bid goodbye to guests and noticed the music for the first time this year, I stood in the driveway to breathe in the thwacking vibration.  Each year, it’s a sound that foretells the shadows deepening under the pines, the daylily stalks drying to straw.  Yet the nostalgia it triggers is a heartwarming reminder of a blessing once received amid this cacophony of noise. 

Later that night, I lay in bed, awake, but soothed by the continuous beat.   To some degree I suppose, I’ll always experience regret when summer winds down, but it’s never as bad as it used to be—because as the season fades, the rasping scrape of wings gear up, providing an acoustic memory of a time that resonated with joy.

13 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Happy birthday to your daughter!

Hope you find that lovely moment of just you and nature's orchestra soon too! Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Happy birthday to your daughter. Katydids are loud sometimes. We also get cicadas and you can hear theme at night as well.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've always greeted August in the same way you describe. Now for the first time in fifty years, I'm not going back to school in a few days. I hope I can relearn the joys of cooling weather and the change of seasons.

Robin said...

Oh Liza, this was really beautiful. I teared up a bit.

It's amazing how sounds and smells shape our lives. Who would have thought a symphony of katydids would be your link to the past? That is lovely.

Oh, and welcome back. You were missed!

Anne Gallagher said...

I never really considered summer over until Columbus Day weekend. But that's just me. And I hate back to school shopping. I do it all year long insted of in August.

Hope all gets straightened out in your world soon.

Bish Denham said...

So beautifully written. Here, with the heat and drought taking its toll, summer will be over with the first frost! :)

mshatch said...

My son and I were just talking about how short Summer is, and how much shorter it gets as we both get older! There may still be a month left of summer but I see the signs of its departure...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Beautiful, Liza, and so very well written. Even in Georgia, when we have plenty of warm weather left, I always think of August as the beginning of the end of summer. (Then again, I think of January as the beginning of the end of winter...)

I hope your daughter has a wonderful birthday.

Jan Morrison said...

oh, I really try and think that September is the last month of summer, which it mostly is here! But even with my bio-chicks long grown up and my step-chicks just beginning university - I still know I'm on that school-based year! So end of August brings such bitter-sweet feelings. You got it all! Happy third decade to your gal!

Words A Day said...

So beautifully written, there's a poem in there:)
ps
google is great for information but I prefer your term - the 'waa waaas':)

Maggie said...

You capture the symphony of August perfectly.

Jennifer Shirk said...

So nice! Makes me appreciate August more!

YOu are busy! But enjoy!

Manzanita said...

What a beautiful closing to summer. In my mind, Sept closes summer and there is yet another beauty that welcomes us into autumn.
August, the lion king of the jungle birthday people. They reign supreme Thank you for the perfect setting.