It all started with morning serenades outside our bedroom window. After a long winter that just wouldn't go away it finally left, and not only did the sun return but someone in particular was there to see that life be celebrated every morning with a song and to him I am thankful.
You would other wise miss him or really take him for granted and ignore him but for the last couple of months a passerine Northern Cardinal has been my guide back into the life of sounds. And he has reminded me that here are no better sounds than those sounds that occur in summer.
His singing has made me take to looking to the air of an evening to see what birds soar the heavens above our abode, and as your eyes scan the heavens looking for the sparrows that are feeding or the unidentified way hi-flyers your ears open as well. And they hear good things and they notice the gaps that once were of long ago.
I can shut down and listen to the cicadas talk all night, or hear the bat as he hunts the sky at night and lives somewhere nearby in his darken daylight home. There is the jake brake of the tractor trailer off in the distance or the quiet throttle of a neighbors pool filter. The fourth of July comes around and for me at this time of year is there is no better sound of the "pop" of a bottle rocket or if I am fortunate there is a "ssshhhhoooompph" "shhhhoooommph" of a whistler as it reaches is crescendo before the arrival of the inevtiable "pow".
These are the subtle operatic sounds of summer that I love and treasure to fall asleep to.
In working on my 4runner not to many evening ago I noticed the lack of some sounds as I realized I need a flashlight in the evening twilight. The Wife was inside somewhere and I lay aground with wrench in hand and thought how my dad use to yell for my mom and how in my then current position I was semi-relectant because I couldn't recall the last time I heard anyone in our neighborhood (or anyone elses do that). In that moment I realized that we really have become stuck in our canned air politeness.
There was another sound that is amiss in the American neighborhood. The twilight beconing of a mother or the shrilled whistle of a father alerting their children who are somewhere in the neighborhood's outdoors that it is getting dark or that dinner is ready. I have to wonder if all those soccer games, dance classes, and yoga deals are worth us losing a six o'clock meal around the nearly extinct dinner table. Because we have replaced our childrens freedom with schedules that rival our own.
A few weeks back I had the chance to go camp by myself, and admist a losing battle with blood sucking insects I found myself around two a.m. watching the horizan flash with lighting and my transportation a good two miles away. God showed up and began a light show that would last until 6am when the final act took place with torrents of rain. But in my concern of weather I forced myself out from under my tarp to get a better look at this lightning. Above me the skies were magnificently clear and to the west was the build up of cumulonimbus clouds that looked liked cloud city. God would light these skyward forms up with lighting but their distance was so great from me that there was no sound of thunder. Yet in the intesity of the coming thunderstorm the midnight woods were quiet. So here was this heavenly light show with no sound, and then I was awarded something else.
Fireflies by the thousands. I have never seen anything like it. And with every flash of lightning the woods would go dark but in its break came lighting from the trees that would rival any christmas tree park. And in my mind God was speaking to His creation of lightning bugs and they were answering back. It was if I was a witness to a conversation that I would never be able to understand, a symphony of lights that Amadeus could never rival.
Take the time to breath this summer, remember how long winter was and go, do, and be somewhere listen to the sounds of life around you and be thankful and aware of your own ability to hear. You'll be amazed to find yourself in a world that you almost forgot about.