The first few days of July brought some traditional summer season icons to my area, including:
- The first locust call on July 3
- The first rain showers of the month on July 4
- The first bloom of Queen Anne’s lace on July 5
- The first ripe black raspberries in the garden on July 6
- The first sunrises and sunsets over the freshly-cut hay fields
Calling in the Wind
While weeding late in the evening, I heard the first locust call into the still, humid air. The sound took my mind back to childhood days when hearing locusts meant the coming of school days and earlier sunsets that interrupted bike riding and baseball games with my sister and my cousins. Traditionally, the locust call did not come until mid to late August, but I have noticed over the years that the locusts’ song has shifted into July.
In doing some research, I found out the early call this year may be due to the emerging of different broods or groups of locusts (also known as the cicadas). The sound is only made by the males and is used as a mating call. The males make the sound by vibrating drum-like plates called tymbals.
Song of Silence
Unlike the locust, the emerging Queen Anne’s lace entered the landscape silently, creeping up after a few hours of rain. I saw the first blooms on a morning bike ride. The delicate structure and intricate detail of the flowers made me marvel at nature’s many details and God’s artistic hand. The flower is actually in the carrot family, though the leaves when crushed smell like parsley.
Taste of Summer
Like the Queen Anne’s lace, the black raspberries make no sound as they splash color and sweetness into the season. This year, I have black raspberries growing wild in the fields and woods, as well as some cultivated bushes in my garden. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences in the wild versus the cultivated bushes and berries.
Typically, the wild black raspberries are ripe before the Fourth of July, but this year, they are running about a week behind schedule, possibly due to a late cold snap back in the spring.
Smells Like Summer
The sunrises and sunsets of early July have been colorful and majestic this year. While running one morning, I caught a glimpse of the first rays of the sun and the aroma of the freshly-cut hay fields. The experience was intoxicating, as if summer had swept me up in its arms, making my head spin in delight. Something about the light, the sweet scent in the air, and the feeling of freedom while running just screams summer to my mind, body, and soul, infusing me with energy to continue upon the journey called life.
Summarizing Summer Firsts
While reflecting upon my experiences of the week, I felt thankful in my heart and soul. I was also granted two days in a row off from work because of the July 4th holiday. My work schedule typically only allows one day off per week, so the extra day was a welcome change. I found myself thinking about how first and infrequent experiences can alter one’s perspective on life, allowing for growth, acceptance, and renewal.
These thoughts planted the seed for the following poem:
Firsts of Summer
First call of the locust from the trees
Floating through the night on the summer breeze,
As the last rays of the sun
The sky giving way
To the light of the moon’s face
And the sparkle of the stars
Twinkling from afar
As the heavens gaze
Over the landscape.
First bloom of the Queen Ann’s lace
With its delicate weave that cascades
In the wind on the road side
Swinging to and fro again as the light
Catches the textures upon its leaves and blooms
As silence rides the song of summer’s swoon,
Invigorating the soul inside with an energy
That fuels life with a synergy
That only nature’s fine art can create
Through the blessings of God’s grace.
First sunset over the freshly cut hay fields
Glowing red as the light reveals
All the wonder of the universe across the sky
In a silent thunder spread far and wide
That gathers in the sweet smell of the fields
And all the beauty magically revealed
In the season’s graceful dance of life
Allowing the soul to be thankful for what it finds
In each passing moment of the day
As it goes upon its way.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
Resources and Related Links
Emerging of Cicadas – http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/cicada/
Locust sound – http://www.livescience.com/28925-why-cicadas-sing.html
Queen Anne’s lace – http://www.flowersociety.org/queen-annes-lace-plant-study.html