Sweet Sounds of Summer

They're way better than winter

illustration by brad fitzpatrick

Last winter was such a bugger, even diehard winter lovers who scorn the sissy snowbirds who leave for warmer climes were perched on mile-high drifts, flapping their wings, contemplating joining the southern migration. 

We work at home and in winter we only leave the warren to fetch grub. We go nuts in the silence, broken only by the snowplow droning by. Cooped up, deprived of Vitamin D, we consider flinging our mates down the cellar steps.

But summer is here; our neighborhood comes to life: peepers peep in vernal pools, mating turkeys squabble in the woods, dogs bark and howl from early morning till late evening, a neighbor’s deranged rooster crows incessantly.

We love Bike Week. We don’t get the full monty of that celebration, but the dirt bikers favor us by including our road on their route. All day long they fly by in clutches, caked in mud, steeds cheerfully snarling. I step outside, nodding and waving at them, thumbs up. Pleased, they reward me by giving their engines a good rev, sometimes even goosing up on their rear wheels. 

Alas, Bike Week ends too quickly. But not to worry, because up the road a good dad has built his kids a track for their dirt bikes and quads, so we are blessed till snow flies with their sweet growling and snarling. (My husband, cranky spoilsport, calls them the woodland farters. But I say he’s the old poop.)

"We go nuts in the silence, broken only by the snowplow droning by."

Time was, if you wanted to see Fourth of July fireworks around here, you had to go to Alton Bay, getting there around noon to beat the mobs jockeying for the best parking spots.

But now, no need to wait till the Fourth. Our neighbors pop off backyard fireworks any old June night. The fun begins just as we’re turning in. Excited, we throw open the sash, oohing and aahing at the Roman candles swishing up over our pines across the road. Who cares if the fire danger is high. One guy puts on fireworks to celebrate — well, let’s see —  so far, his son’s high school graduation, his wedding anniversary and his wife’s birthday.

One night, we were nodding off in front of the TV. Suddenly, the windows started rattling. What the heck? Oh yeah, must be the Rooney boys and their band. They cranked up even louder, making our breastbones vibrate. We really are truly blessed!

But nothing beats what we were treated to a few years ago. Fella down the road is a military buff. Does those re-enactment things on his parents’ spread: Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I —  they’re all good. 

One steamy night, we were waked by a deafening ratta-ratta-tatta-ratta-tat-tat. Hearts thumping, we lay there. Another round. Silence, then another long volley. God, are we under attack? But then we figured: guy must be holding some re-enactment. It was just like being in a farmhouse in Normandy in World War II! Great!

Next day, neighbors were all abuzz, squawking about their sleepless night. But not us. After interminable winters when the silence thrums, we love summer’s cacophony. Bring it on!

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