Sounds Of Summer

Summertime - and the livin' is easy
Summertime – and the livin’ is easy

Summer’s constant buzz and song fills my house.  Crickets, cicadas, grasshoppers, and a myriad of other bugs and birds create a constant background hum – either that – or I have horrible tinnitus.

These muggy August nights feature crickets’ constant ‘chee, chee, chee, chee’, while tree frogs sound their ‘bdrrrrr, bdrrrrr’ calls echoing around our hill, quieting close to sunrise, continued by the crickets until long after sunrise when other insects and birds take up the daytime chorus.

The oppressive, humid air makes sleep nearly impossible, even with the fan on high, but I rarely need moisturizer this time of year!

Wisps of hair curl up near my temples and forehead, and a cool shower takes down some of the night’s heat.

A long ago Key West morning suffuses my memory.  I’m stepping into a slightly chilled saltwater pool at our motel in Islamorada.  The surrounding air, so much like this morning, makes me long for the palm tree setting, while nostalgia’s softening gaze helps me forget any of the stress or conflict of that trip as I feel myself cutting through the cooling water of the pool on that lovely morning.

Islamorada Pier - Guy Harvey Outpost
Islamorada Pier

That memory is a happy place I will call to mind as I attend to today’s stress, work and monotonous chores.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Summertime Songs

From musicals like Porgy & Bess, and Grease, to pop songs through every decade, summer songs create, or re-create feelings of freedom, ease, love – especially young love with all that angst and yearning – and even if the heat and humidity are hard to take in the moment, I look back fondly to sticky summer nights spent hanging out with my group of friends, skinny-dipping in the river, or pool-hopping around the neighborhood, with or without permission…

Songs heard in my youth stir me more deeply than newer summer-themed tunes, or even old ones newly discovered. Those tunes center me in time and place unlike most anything else in my life.

The following links worked at this posting, but you can always search the song names yourself if any links become broken.  Perhaps a few are already in your play list!

George Gershwin’s, Summertime, an aria in 1935’s, Porgy and Bess, evokes a haunting sweetness of that which is hoped for, however unattainable, for the impoverished Bess singing to her baby.

Another “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, from 1991, breathes summer’s relative freedom, and speaks to slowing down and enjoying summer’s romantic possibilities.

Eddie Cochran told us there’s no cure for the “Summertime Blues” in his 1958 rockabilly number, referring to his having to work and not getting to be with his girlfriend or friends all out having fun.

The Drifters’ trill about their relaxing seaside summer in 1964’s: Under The Boardwalk.  You can feel summer’s heat, smells, sights, and sounds, while taking a chance at falling in love near the surf, away from the boardwalk’s crowds.

1966’s, Summer in the City, by The Lovin’ Spoonful, brings you into the city’s grit and grime from the first guitar strains just as Under The Boardwalk conveys a carnival feel from the start.  And while the city heat shimmers off the asphalt, a cooler breeze and romance prevail at night.

Juxtapose that with, In the Summertime, by Mungo Jerry, 1970’s bubble-gum ditty, where finding a date was summer’s full-time pursuit – and dig the mutton chops, man!:

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s released several songs intoning summer’s graces and privileges for young and old alike.  Several appeared in the summer of 1972.

Seals and Crofts’ Summer Breeze, is more folk than pop, and makes me want to lie under my favorite maple watching the leaves sway and hush each other in the warm breezes.

Saturday in the Park, Chicago’s ode to summer, also invokes a festival atmosphere, celebrating old-time holiday conviviality with street vendors and singers.

Alice Cooper’s, School’s Outbrought harder rock and attitude to summer’s opening, and remains one of my top summer songs:

Hot Fun In the Summertime, 1969’s summer hit by Sly and The Family Stone, also speaks to freedom from school in a mellow blues style, just as memorable for its ease and friendliness as Alice Cooper’s is for its ‘screw you’ ethos.

Flash forward to 1977 and The Ramones punking out with Rockaway Beachanother of their non-stop, driving beats insistent on another popular summer pursuit, days at the beach.

I don’t think Sandy Olsson from, Grease, would have been as attracted to one of the Ramones as much as she was to Danny Zuko, because meeting him on the beach was more like a Beach Boys’ dream song than the tough guy he portrayed in front of his friends, confusing poor Sandy.  But, oh, what fun they had in those Summer Nights:

Sandy Olsson could have used Bananarama’s pop tune, Cruel Summer, to console her, but 1983 was too far in the future for the 1950’s character, and besides, it wouldn’t have been broody enough for our melancholy Sandy.  Many of us with broken hearts related to their pop ballad while we danced away our sad summer nights.

A year later, in 1984, Don Henley rocked out smoothly with
The Boys of Summer, crooning his heart out about the girl who got away – while those mean girls kept walking – pushing their Wayfarers a bit further up on their pretty little noses.

While this list isn’t in any particular order, excepting its mostly chronological look at summer songs, no list would be complete without Bryan Adams’, Summer of ’69the youth rockers ode and anthem – finding belonging, following a passion – both in love and artful expression, and the sweet remembrance of summers past.

Make sure you add your favorite summer songs and why you like them in the comments!

Cheers, happy writing, and happy Summer 2016!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

A Sticky Situation

Bare legs stick to the wooden seat, pulling up as though it were a bandage I’m pulling off as I rise to find my hoodie.  It’s not cold, but the clammy air has me chilled.  The bloated sky threatens rain, and the dead air hangs inside too – all the open windows and doors allowing in a subtle mist, evening out the airscape – as I wonder if this is what it’s like to be in the horse latitudes.

The napkins in the holder on the table facing me are slumped over as though drunk, and my feet are uncomfortable on the gummed-feeling floor boards.

I slip on my flip-flops, and take off my recently donned sweatshirt as it proves too warm, and sultry is too good a word for the day.  Oppressive is too harsh, so dull, or limp, fit better, but still doesn’t capture the quality.

I once stayed on my sister’s boyfriend’s refurbished tugboat, and we moored in the harbor for the night.  That was a sultry summer night, wisps of my hair making ringlets from the damp air, our faces shiny and tacky from the humidity as we talked, laughed, ate, and drank until well into the early morning, and I finally drifted off to sleep on the padded bench I was sitting on.  Someone had covered me with one of the wool blankets my sister’s boyfriend had stowed several of for such occasions, and I woke up early, scratchy from the blanket, and clammy from the still misty air, but grateful for the covering when I saw that the blanket was wet with beads of dew, as though I had been lightly rained on while sleeping.

The clouds finally burst as I write, and I think at least the garden is grateful for the rain, but the pitter-patter and constant hum makes me sleepy, although I have so much to do.

A third cup of coffee might help me stay upright and on task.

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Oh, How The Garden Grows

I’ve weeded once.  It’s rained 3 times since then.  I can hear our plants calling out for help as they get crowded out by the faster growing crab grass and weeds – or maybe that’s my guilty imagination.

I’m glad we got it planted reasonably early this year, and as in most things I attempt, I’m not all that enthusiastic about the work, but I do enjoy the harvest.

I’ve also learned to not trust our plants no matter how well we take care of them, and having to compete with the bugs and other critters.  The blight took all our beautiful, plentiful, tomatoes last year, and several cucumbers, and peas failed to thrive too.  The carrots were a bitch to weed and thin, and their yield barely made up for the back-numbing, knee-wrecking work.

Makes you want to run right out and start a garden, doesn’t it?

I do enjoy knowing where and how my food was grown, and that we’re growing organically – no toxic pesticides or GMO’s for us!  I understand the world is full of pesticides and pollution – we can’t escape it all – but I’m not going to help Monsanto or Syngenta, et, al., in any way possible.

Geneticist friends insist GMO’s on their face are bio-identical, but I’ll not have fish genes in my tomatoes – thanks.  I’ll deal with the disappointment of blight and learn how to better care for them without trying to pretend I know better than billions of years of evolution because when geneticists say no negatives were found in test studies, it’s because negatives were not tested for.  That makes a neat solution, but not a livable one.

People can read all the pro and con literature and raw data and make up their minds, or trust that geneticists have their back and don’t need to pander to their funders in any way…

Our garden grows regardless of the tending, I know, but our care, along with nature’s course, will show our final yield.

In the meantime, on we go, bug hats, water, music, and mulch.

Cheers and all the best to the gardeners out there – reluctant or not!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Summer Day, Twelve

The cool breeze and shade diminished the heat of the sun as I walked down the road to Marie’s house.  I watched the big maples and oaks as I walked, their leaves rippling and swaying in the wind, the sun filtering through them creating dappled patterns, moving kaleidoscope-like on the pavement.  I tried leaping into spots of sun but the dance was too fast, I kept losing the game.

The rustle of chipmunks and squirrels startled me as much as I startled them, leaving me relieved to see them scampering under the leaf cover, over a log, or up a tree.  When the woods got thicker, the sun spots all but disappearing from the road, I worried about hungry bears and wolves attacking me, and I’d quicken my pace, but never run.  Running was cowardly, and the rule was, I’d only run if I actually saw a bear or wolf, otherwise, I just had to feel the fear, knowing that it wouldn’t be far until the trees thinned out, giving way to the fields, where I’d be back under the hot sun, hoping the breeze kept up.

Some days, when there was no breeze, I’d pretend I was lost in the desert, the shimmer of heat up from the pavement was a mirage – that wasn’t Marie’s house up ahead, really.  It would disappear when I got closer, my parched lips, dry mouth, and swollen tongue would find no respite.

The game ended when I reached her driveway, and sometimes she would be outside waiting for me, and then we’d go off, away from her nosy little brothers, and play games with her Barbie and Ken doll – marrying them and then making them get divorced for various reasons.  The hottest days, when she was inside, I’d revel in the cooler inside air, going over the kitchen sink, helping myself to a long drink of water – rescuing the poor desert wanderer.

My parents had divorced about two years then, and I liked being at Marie’s house where her mother and father were together, and they lived a life as normal as I wish I had.

It was many years later, when I had my child, that I realized what it must have seemed like to Marie’s parents – that no one wondered where I was, that I could stay over any time I wanted, no permissions needed.  Her parents talked of wanting to adopt me that summer, a conversation I heard and related to my mother, begging her to let me live there.  My mother, her pride kicking in, refused, thus sealing my fate – and I wish I had known how to ask skillfully, maybe requesting to stay at Marie’s for the summer, and not mentioning adoption…

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

One of my favorite pilgrimages in this area is the, Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls.  I’ve gone there at least once a summer every year I’ve lived in this area.  One could go each week, perhaps each day, and see something different growing or blooming.  It’s lovely to be there on warm, sunny days, but it’s just as sweet to walk over the bridge in the rain.

Sunflowers are another of my favored summer plants, and I took this picture at the last apartment I lived in a couple of years ago:

Happy June!

*

*

*

© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.