Memories of July

The sun has dropped behind the edge of the hills to the west. It’s not dark enough yet for the night hawk or the poorwill. An occasional wasp or dragon fly will move through the sultry thick air. Still not a hint of a breeze. The only things moving are the hind legs of the cicadas and crickets. The dust off the road even takes longer to fall to earth after a car passes. The dust hangs like smoke or fog, then dissipates.

The sky doesn’t deepen in color. It has been bleached by the July sun. It fades from cream in the west to old denim in the east. With the sun gone, the heat begins to leach from the rocks and the asphalt. A breeze begins to tentatively brush my face as the ground yields back the radiation of the sun. The night sounds begin.

The multi-voiced choir of insects, some in pattern, some in time — five or six species sing, a long constant buzz. Against the background hum, a distant dog barks from afar. The neighborhood dogs join in like singing rounds — the song of their species — one after another across the miles.

You think on all the things you could or should be doing — but the inside of the house is hot, and the breeze is building off the canyon. You might just drag a mattress out to the porch tonight. If the breeze keeps up, it will keep the skeeters off.

The hills in the distance become a purple smudge and the various greens of the trees blend into camouflage. The first star glows — no it moved — it is a plane heading east to land in town. A white plume rises as a neighbor hotrods his dump truck down the dirt road. The dust hangs in the air and then slowly rides gravity down to the creek bottom.

The poorwill begins his two-tone call as the dark overcomes the light — like ice melting — slowly — almost imperceptibly. The night hawks being their sweep across the valley gathering the insects from the sky.

A night hawk catching a moth.
A nighthawk catching a moth

The western sky deepens to crimson and the heat pale vault melts away to gray then dark. A star or two begins to shimmer in the darkness. The fireflies begin to dance, and it is time for bed. Nine o’clock and the breeze had died. Back in the house for another night of sleeping under the fan.

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Pat Gibson

Pat Gibson

An emerging writer, an educator, a mom, a grandmother, and a great grandmother…