Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cicada summer

It's official. I heard my first cicada today. The steely, steamy, simmering siren song of summer.

And this span of days, July 3 to July 5, was the bridge into cicada summer. Highs in the nineties, ushering in the first real triple H (hazy, hot, humid) heat wave, and it isn't surprising, because it's the Fourth of July. Remember? My mother gave me fifty cents to see the elephant jump the fence. He jumped so high, he hit the sky, and didn't come down till the Fourth of July. That Fourth of July. When all things are possible, big, noisy, and opportunistic. It's America's birthday party, after all. You know the downbeat: BOM bom ba dum bum...pum pum pum pum pum PUM!
And once again we give our hearts to John Philip Sousa, like when we were kids somewhere, seriously buying into this USA thing, with the cymbals and brass and piccolos and the baseball cards and bunting in the spokes of your bike and be kind to your web-footed friends for a duck may be somebody's mother. Here's a particularly peppy rendition by an amused but dignified Leonard Bernstein.

I missed the fireworks this year. Not the Esplanade (haven't been there in ten years), not Robbins Farm for the big-screen telecast; not even on my own TV. Mostly we were AC-potatoes. Something about July 4th falling on a Sunday blunted it, even though we had this extra day cushion, July 5th, to compensate. Somehow that just weakened it further, as if July 4th needed help or legitimacy. On the other hand, if you didn't put the responsibility on the holiday, then what you had was a colorful long weekend, a collaboration between July 3, 4, and 5 to stir something up. And what it was for me on Sunday evening was a sunset like I've seldom seen over Spy Pond, a sustained orgasm of colors and textures of clouds, herringbone and moonscape and a watercolorist's pondful of paintpots left over at the end. More than a worthy exchange for a front row of orchestral music and chrysanthemums of fireworks. Much more. If you'd been there, you would have said so, too.

And now it's the end of the last day of the trio, call them Jesse and Jim-Bob and Giulietta. We went to a movie and had pizza and Cherry Garcia ice cream. The Red Sox lost and next week it's the All-Star Game. And the cicadas are in the house.

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