To me, summers at Big Mill are about the night. The air is soft. Sitting in a wicker swing, for a few moments all is quiet. Then the sounds come. Bullfrogs show off with their throaty noises and then you can hear kaplop as they swim away. I am always amazed to see how big they are, or rather aren’t. The smallest frog can make the biggest noise.
Crickets will start in mid-summer, when the nights are still. Maybe that is why I have always liked Tennessee Williams. Growing up, we left the windows and doors open, there was no air conditioning. I don’t remember being too hot. Now we have wonderful, energy efficient air conditioners. We wonder how we survived without them.
Nights also bring the summer smells. First comes the honeysuckle, then the gardenia, or as the old folks called them, Cape jasmine. Moon flowers are next and the glorious ginger lilies, they permeate the night air with a sweet smell of jasmine.
In late July and in August the smell of tobacco curing sneaks in. None of us smokes, but the night smell of curing tobacco is comforting and reminds me of home and youth, playing with my nephew Barney. It is a good thing to remember.
Barney has now come back to his roots, just as I have. We are happy. And you cannot forget the night sights: the fireflies, the shooting stars and the imagined space ships. They are all still here and that too is good. You just might see one if you join us.
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