Mid-Summer: Cicadas, Solstice and Mosquitoes

We are there – the longest (and typically hottest) days of the summer. Two things are on my mind: Cicadas and Solstice. Oh, add a third – mosquitoes.

First thing: Have you heard any of the summer cicadas yet? I heard one brave little insect screeching all alone five nights ago. His call wavered, then fell into silence. He waited. I’m sure he was wondering if any of his friends had popped out of the ground yet. But he was the first. He was alone.

The next night, I heard a second, answering his call. The third night, a third joined them. Then last night, I counted at least eight. Their long calls droned together, one joining another as if they were singing a ’round’ like we used to do in school, with three parts for three groups of singers. Their song?

“Summer’s heeeeeerrrrrreeeee.”
And halfway through, the second joins: “Summer’s heeeerrrrreeeee.”
And then the third, “Summer’s heeeerrrreeeee.”
And on and on from mid-afternoon until the sky turns dark. At that point, at least in my area, the tree frogs take over.

What are the sounds of summer where you live?

A second thing: the long days and the sun, high over head. This is the time of year we celebrate the sun at its zenith.
My house sits at an angle, facing east-north-east, so that this time of year, and only this time of year, when the sun comes up, my sunrise view is unobstructed by my neighbor’s house. If I’ve left the shades and curtains open, the sun will be shining on my face by 6:30 a.m.

Throughout human history, people have celebrated the sun, building amazing structures which told them exactly what time of the year it was because of the alignment of the sun. At my house, my bedroom window opening tells me it is the heart of summer. I tuck the elephant ears and caladiums under the eaves of the house so they won’t burn in the high rays of these days. And I give them water every day.

Summer has its rituals, just like other times of year. One of my rituals is marking the line where the sun reaches on the front patio, because that’s where those caladium pots are placed.

How does the angle of the sun change at your house? Do you have to make any special accommodations to keep plants both in and out of your house away from those hottest rays of mid-day?

It’s no secret to most people who know me that mid summer is not my favorite time. Summers here in the forests of Eastern Oklahoma are hot and humid. And the worst part is: mosquitoes. As a nature person, I know full well that these pesky insects provide food for many, many animals, from bats to birds to frogs and lizards. Sometimes mosquitoes even help pollinate fruits and vegetables, taking care of the cross-pollination which has to happen for fruits to set on and grow. I know mosquitoes have a place in the web of life. I know.

Here’s hoping you will celebrate summer! And take time to listen for cicadas, analyze the angle of the sun, and appreciate mosquitoes!

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