With the first of August there comes the hint that summer may not, as we always wish, go on forever. A sudden realization that the summer solstice lies a good five weeks to the stern of us. Summer flowers that mark the months now reach a certain apex allowing for the realization that their beauty is upon us again – and not to be seen for another year. How odd it is that these brilliant displays last only a few weeks at best, yet take so frustratingly long to repeat the performance. There are many human activities occurring in the summer that follow in the same manner whether it be a Greek or Italian festival, a county fair, or the thoroughbred races at Saratoga Springs.
Another happy face announces August. Copyright James V. Michalec 2015
We all have our particular thoughts about what strikes us as the beginning of closure on summer. With a lull in the activity at our summer dacha, as the house dangles on steel waiting for cement contractors to pour foundation walls under it, I sit and spin words to the chirp of a cricket outside the window. As if on cue, a cricket has appeared to saw a tune on its hind legs on this day, the first of August. The little fellows have been around since spring, but only now sing about summer. Time moves swiftly for us, faster for them. Though the thought of bundling for warmth in Woolx is still far off, the chirp of a cricket holds the undeniable sign that summer is half gone. Come September, as the dusty colours of autumn begin to settle in, the cricket-speak will enter a melancholy phase, a distinct slowing down moment in the natural world. For now, it is only a small signal of things to come, things still many weeks away. Last year, at our summer dacha, a cricket began chirping in late June. It so unnerved me I hunted the offender down (under a flagstone), scooped it up, and walked it clear across our back field, hurling it unceremoniously into a wild rose thicket. “Fake!” I shouted after it. “Hooligan! Dare to call a false alarm in my kingdom? May a snake reduce your chirp to a burp!”
I don’t want summer to go, as you can see. It’s too close to my soul. If I could pin down the hind legs of every cricket, I’d do it. If I could squeeze out one more day at the race track, I’d lay another $2 mutual down. If I could get one more bite out of a Greek gyro I’d seize it with gusto, close my eyes, and let the exquisite flavours knock me backwards like New Yorkers cascading toward me from opening subway doors.
The Two Dollar Mutual -with the face of a gambler?
Copyright James V. Michalec 2015
The cricket has stopped. Does it know? Does it have respect for an incurable summer-holic like me? I lean an ear to one side. Wait, to be sure. Uh. It chirps.