The summer offers such a feast for the senses that it is well worth the time to contemplate each type of interaction our bodies have with the world.
When I think about the subtle sounds of summer, I come up with the usual list of pleasant aural experiences: the crack of a wooden bat against a baseball, the eerie cries of loons slicing through the night from a nearby lake, rippling water parting as a canoe glides along a river, the laughter of children as they chase each other along woodland paths.
By late August the boisterous spring peepers have long since given way to the throaty croaks of bullfrogs. Crickets, cicadas, and katydids serenade us through late summer evenings. Songbirds, having fulfilled their mission of attracting females and raising young, have piped down and have been replaced by the raucous comedy troupes of itinerant crows that roil and boil through the limbs of the trees surrounding the garden. Telling and re-telling the jokes that send them into side-splitting laughter.
Falling acorns bounce down the roof and skitter across the deck, lodging against the planters, overfull with petunias and nasturtiums.
For some unfathomable reason chipmunks stutter their repetitive “chips” with metronome-like precision, over and over and over, sitting stock-still on the fence, daring me to tell them to hush up and move on.
I seem to be developing a keener sense of hearing, enjoying the almost inaudible crackles and pops of insects, the flutter (more a buzzing) of the hummingbird’s wings, the plop of a small frog jumping into the garden pond.
One summer, many years ago, the gypsy moth caterpillars were so numerous in all of our trees that you could hear them munching on the leaves, the low susurration of their chewing falling like dry rain from the disappearing green canopy.
We approach the end of summer. The rattle of dry grasses, the crunch of fallen leaves will accompany our walks through the woods as we head listlessly towards the seasons of rain and snow.