Sounds of Late Summer and Other Things

At our home in the woods in mid-August, crickets have begun their late summer song that will continue until a hard frost nips their sweet, high voices.

On Sunday, I sat on the patio, and two hummingbirds whirred by, chasing each other as they tried to defend the feeders. The fountain bubbled and flowed—a comforting sound. A male cardinal sang its trilling song. In the dense green of the late summer woods, the red flash of his feathers eluded me.

Next door, the rooster crowed, a high pitched warning to any roosters that might be nearby. (There were none.) The hens clucked softly as they pecked and scratched at the lawn, looking for tasty tidbits. Get those ticks, hens!

Cars went by. Even though we live in the woods, the road is nearby.Β  On this hot afternoon, there were no walkers.

Little Miss Watson meowed and trilled hello as she came onto the patio for a visit. I admired those little white whiskers.

The garden is nearly past its best, but I still enjoyed looking at it.

Sunday on the Narrows Pond Road.Β  I could almost pretend it was just another lazy afternoon in August, that a silent invisible enemy was not out there doing its worst.

At the same time, it’s hard to envision returning to the free and easy life we once had. Will we, even when a vaccine comes out?

That is to be determined.




72 thoughts on “Sounds of Late Summer and Other Things”

  1. Laurie, you paint a picture of a perfect summer afternoon. The dog days of summer. I guess the return to school will give everyone a sense of how things are going to play out in the near term. Fingers crossed.

  2. Always a pleasure to read your text and look at your photographs.I am writing this on my my desktop so that you will be sure to get the comment.

  3. It’s hard to imagine “late summer” as being in August. Here in Central Texas, that would be about, oh, late October, early November. Having grown up in Northern Ohio, I do remember the cool August nights. One thing we do share: this morning a male cardinal sipped at the birdbath while I heard the babies’ chit-chit, and occasionally I saw a few of the young fly among the trees. There must be several cardinal families in our yard. They are a delight.

  4. Lovely afternoon on the patio, and your summer is in full swing. I think there will be a vaccine one day Laurie, there are so many trials going on in the world, but it all takes time. Have a happy week!

  5. Hi, Laurie – Your comment about ‘late summer’ really got to me. Our weather on Vancouver Island only became ‘truly warm’ quite recently. We definitely need an extension!
    As to your closing thoughts, like most of us, I have more questions than answers.

  6. Early spring here of course! Everything looks so lovely and your descriptions of the sounds all add to it. We don’t know what the future will be. There is talk of opening up travel to the Cook Islands. Wonder if that is such a good idea?

  7. β€œNearly past its best” is an apt word on many things now. But there is still beauty in your garden and in our world. It just takes a little more effort to find it.

  8. The crickets are really going at it here, too. I hear different frogs and crickets at the front of the house than at the back. Life for me hasn’t changed much due to our restrictions except for shopping. Little Miss Watson is a nice looking cat! Take care and thanks for the great post!

    1. Many thanks! Unfortunately, Covid-19 has flipped our lives upside down. Our family lives far away, which means we can’t see them. We publish and sell books, and all the venues and fairs have been canceled. It will be a lean year for us. But that’s the way it goes, and Clif and I are certainly doing our bit to slow the spread of the virus.

      1. Sorry to hear COVID has had that sort of impact on you. It wasn’t sometime you could prepare well for for in advance either. My family hasn’t lived close by and we visit on Skyke and FB mainly. Hopefully soon things will get fairly close to normal and you can attent book fares and events. Prayers to you and yours!

      2. Many thanks! We have tried to meet the Covid-19 restrictions with stoicism and fortitude, and mostly we have succeeded. Sure do miss our children, though.

  9. What a blissful afternoon Laurie and lovely to see Little Miss Warson join you on the patio. These moments are a true gift while none of us know what lies ahead πŸ’œ

  10. It’s a beautiful day in your neighborhood. πŸ™‚ I’m not sure we’ll ever totally get over this experience even though a vaccine will definitely be appreciated. My husband has these sneezing fits where he sneezes five or six times in a row. He’s had them all his life, but I’m envisioning someone calling 911 if he ever has one in public again. πŸ™‚

    1. Judy, I fear you’re right. But if life were even half-way normal, then that would be a big improvement. I, too, have sneezing fits like your husband. Wonder if people will jump away from me if I have one in public? Can’t say that I’d blame them. πŸ˜‰

  11. You write so beautifully! I felt I was sitting there with you enjoying your garden

  12. I just love Little Miss Watson and could feel the peaceful world surrounding you through your words! I’ve thought often about the chances of us returning to the previous life we lived and am now at the point that I don’t see that happening and have no clue what the future version could even possibly look like due to my own personal changes and so many changes occurring in every area of our society.

  13. Beautiful cat, beautiful garden! I have never willed a summer away before but I want this one to be over. And then I realize that maybe nothing will be any different for a very long time. That scares me too much to dwell on for very long. I am camping at the moment, no service at the tent so I’m at a local library. I feel unsettled camping this time, mostly because I left Katie with her dad and I am camping at our favorite campsite at our favorite park and everywhere I look I can see her and I miss her so much. Anyway…the sooner we get past this summer and past the election and past the virus the better. Not that those things are related. Or are they.

    1. Thanks, Dawn. I know just how you feel. Anxious to get through this summer but what’s coming next? The chaos and incompetence of this administration is breathtaking. Sad and scary to be living in the United States right now.

  14. Lovely post, Laurie. such beautiful description.
    Are those red or deep pink bee balm I see blooming?
    Hard to figure what will change and what will remain after/if we get the vaccine. Strange, but I think I have gotten used to pandemic living, except for fear of venturing into public spaces and not being able to welcome visitors freely into my home. Even masks and frequent hand-sanitizing are almost a habit now. and I still sometimes wear my gloves. To think I used to marvel at masked passengers on the commuter trains in Tokyo back in the mid-1990’s!

    1. Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, red bee balm. We, too, have adapted to pandemic living, but it has brought with it much loss—mainly, not seeing our children. Sigh.

  15. I felt like I was in your garden for a few minutes there. When you have a few minutes between books could you fit in a quick travelogue about Maine? You could be the new Bill Bryson, but nicer.

  16. How lovely to spend time with you out on your patio. I was right there with you.
    We are in the midst of a few days of scorching heat and high humidity and I am flagging – come the afternoon I will be soaking my T-shirt in cold water and putting it on to cool me down – well that’s what I did yesterday – bliss!

  17. We are in new times, for sure. What I am not sure of is life ever returning to what it was, due to disturbing current events, and the knowledge that this is not the last pandemic that will ever come through. But you have cardinals, and so much rural beauty! I have cardinal envy. πŸ™‚ I wish we had those bright red birds, but am grateful for all the various unique birds and critters here. I wouldn’t mind giving you some voles, however, if you are short any. πŸ™‚ It is a bumper year for voles, digging tunnels everywhere, eating my strawberries, uprooting plants. I think even Cinnial would have been done in by voles. πŸ™‚

  18. I’m more sanguine than some about the virus, perhaps because I grew up having to cope with polio, rheumatic fever, and so on. We took precautions in those days, but we weren’t paralyzed by fear. We went to school and to church, and families and friends visited regularly. The swimming pools closed for polio, and we were used to seeing quarantine signs in the homes of sick people, but otherwise? Life went on — just as the sounds of your summer continue.

    As for the vaccine? The CDC reports that last year’s flu vaccine was 50% effective against influenza B/Victoria viruses and 37% effective against influenza A(H1N1). Anyone who expects a Covid virus vaccine to be a ‘magic bullet’ is going to be disappointed. Magical thinking isn’t the answer. So, on we go. Me? I’m dreaming of October, or at least an end to this debilitating heat!

    1. To be sure, polio was a terrible scourge. But it seems to me that Covid-19 is in a different category and has the potential to be a world changer. We, of course, won’t know this until many, many years from now. And I fear you’re right about the vaccine, which I shall nevertheless get as soon as it has been proven safe and reliable. Just as I do with the seasonal flu shot. And a note of hope: I haven’t gotten the seasonal flue since I’ve started getting the shots. Before then, I got the flu regularly.

      1. Just a note — I stopped by to chat with my pharmacist last week, just because I hadn’t seen him in so long, and he told me that they expected deliveries of the flu vaccine to begin in a week or so. That would be this week, or next. He advised getting it early, since they think there may be more demand than usual for it this year (I wonder why!) and there could be shortages. Like you, I always get the shot, and I’ve not had the flu in decades. Can you hear me knocking on my nice, wooden desk?

      2. Someone smart told me that the flu vaccine is variably effective because the powers that be never know exactly which strain of flu will be around each winter. But that Covid-19 is a very specific virus so, like with measles or smallpox, the vaccine will be highly effective. I hope my smart friend is right.

  19. Normal life seems like another world. It’s hard for me to imagine ever sitting comfortably in a restaurant again.

    I always feel sad when I hear the crickets instead of the frogs because it means time is passing more quickly than I expected. But then I remember it means reading season is coming and I feel happy.

  20. Thank you for sharing these serene moments of nature from your patio. While we listen to the critters sing and call to each other, we continue to pray for a vaccine/treatment to end this madness.

  21. You have a lovely garden, Laurie. I’m glad you shared this pic. Like you, I can’t imagine dinner out or a movie, not to mention live theater or a concert, all things we’ve enjoyed.

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