Tuesday morning coffee… after the beautiful skies of yesterday afternoon, we have returned to the mostly clear promise of 90+ degrees for today. Even the birds have been a bit subdued this morning.
The sound that is moving to the front of our outdoor soundtrack though, is the sound that accompanied me through every summer of my growing up… As we always called them… the locusts are starting to sing the days away. They aren’t really locusts but cicadas. Big ugly, green bugs that mostly live in the trees after shedding their in-ground skins on the trunks of trees and climbing up. Occasionally you will actually see one… mostly, you just get to listen. And it is the sound of summer… the sound I associate with the hot still summer evenings of my youth.
Summers back then were different. In those pre-refrigerated house days, you spent more time outdoors here in the lower south than most folks do now. As the sun would begin to fall toward the horizon, the outside air temperature would begin to drop below the temperature in the house… it would be time to take it outside. Sometimes… the cicadas would be so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. They would drown out conversations.
The saving factor in those old houses, back in the summers of my youth, were the attic fans. Properly known as whole house fans, they were great big whopping things in the middle of the house, usually in a hall. Three to four feet in diameter, mounted in the ceiling, they sucked all of that hot humid air right out of the house. In the process they would cool down a hot attic so it didn’t radiate heat all night long into the living areas. As kids we loved to stand in the only open door in the hall and let the air rush over our bodies. I loved my attic fans.. Of course, in order for them to work, you had to leave windows open at night… I doubt anyone living in a town or a city today would be tempted to sleep next to an open window. Though I sure relished that strong breeze of nighttime air when I crawled into bed each night.
Coffee’s run out… time for a refill!
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