Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bucolic in Georgia

In the Georgia night, the katydids chorus the measures of the train tracks - chacka-Cha-chacka-Cha - beating staccato rhythms from colony to colony, the sounds meeting and retreating, sometimes in one uniform pulse, sometimes in stereophonic exchanges. They have become my meditation of the night, after the darting lights of the fireflies have died away. Sometimes the crickets join the orchestra to sing the alto thread. But it is the katydids who own the humid nights out there in the great oaks and hemlocks. They are all around us, raucous and busy, calling to one another, with one another - a complex and mysterious other world going about its business.

It has been hot. It has been iced tea on the porch hot. One can envisage generations of overdressed Southern belles sighing "Oh, my, Blanche, the heat, oh, the heat". It's lolling weather, too heavy with humidity to achieve anything other than a languid pace. We move from room to room like restless cats seeking a cool piece of the floor. The heat has been building up with the ground dry and red. For days we have waited for the clouds to build, to bring relief. Today it did. As we lay about with books, too enervated to talk. The sky darkened over the northern mountains and we went outside to watch and hope. Sure enough, a drop of rain. Another. Just a few. Oh,no, don't let it pass us by. But just as we began to think our little vigil had been in vain, the thunder began to rumble and the rain began to fall. Then we were in a spectacle of torrential electrical storm - lightning strokes striking Lynch Mountain right in front of us, over and over. Great crashing explosions of thunder, trees twisting in the bursts of wind and rain cascading down and down and down. We sat in the screened porch damp with the misty spray and rode the sensations of this wild bounty - cooling down with the earth. Ah, sweet relief.

And now the harmonies of lush greens are greener yet - and the Blue Ridge Mountains are adorned with plumes of steamy mist.

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