Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Day - a little essay

The dog days of summer. Hot. Muggy. Laid-back. Dreamy.

The glare from the sun high in the summer sky blanches colors and creates a stark contrast between light and shadow. The heavy afternoon air is interspersed with the sandpapery scritch of summer cicadas high in the trees and the occasional drone of a passing bee.

Then, just when the weight of the day seems too much to bear, the long thin line of clouds on the horizon mounds upon itself into the distinctive dark shape of a thunderhead. The air prickles.

In the distance wails the doleful song of a mourning dove “oohwee ooh ooh ooooh.” The scent of fresh rain on hot dry dirt is detected on the slight breeze that has picked up.

The stillness grows. The air becomes thicker and heavier. Nothing moves. Ambition casts aside. And then; it comes…


With the first lightning bolt the sky opens up and the rain descends. Gentle and satiating it begins as the first drops are slurped by the parched vegetation. Then harder and harder it pounds to batter the faces of flowers and create rushing rivulets.

The first welcome breeze now tears at tree limbs and laundry lines. Leaves sail from yard to yard while sheets cling by their clips starched stiff in the gale.

All build - the rain, the wind, the rushing water - to a great crescendo. Crackling thunder. Whistling wind. Drumming rain. Then the great crash of a lightning strike nearby.

As it rumbles away, the wind eases and the rain slacks off to a drizzle. The following roll of thunder is farther away and the next farther still. The little streams slow and recede.

To the west the clouds begin to part and a shaft of late afternoon sun cuts through. The birds commence their vesper songs while slowly venturing forth in search of insects and worms unearthed in the aftermath.

Bit by bit the day is renewed. Cicadas sing. Bees buzz. The grass dries. In the washed air colors intensify. Refreshment returns.

Okay, it's your turn. Write about your summer day (or winter day if you're reading from down under) and tell us where to find it in comments.


Melissa Donovan said...

Ah, I hope we get one of these summer storms out in California. It sounds positively divine!

Melissa Donovan

7sky said...

What a vivid, melodic description! You've captured the essence of the day.

G's Cottage said...

@Melissa - I have heard from others who lived in southern CA that even when thunderstorms came they did not have the air cleansing/refreshing aftermath that we get in the east and midwest. I am not the greatest fan of thunderstorms but the change in the atmosphere makes it worthwhile.

@7sky - Thank you. One of the benefits of my studio has been the two windows, one faces north and the other due west, is I have all these sounds without all the bugginess. And extra treat my first nest of Cardinals right under the west window.