Saturday, April 22, 2006

the way heat holds you

There are a lot of things I don't miss about the South and I am perfectly happy living out here as a Southern expatriot. One thing I do miss is the heat. Sometimes. And even the humidity. Heat and humidity make the air thick, amplify the smells of summer and spring, create a space that's alive, a space that holds you like cooler, dryer air can't. Heat and humidity, carrying the thick perfume of blossoms, grilling food, cigarette smoke, tanning lotion, all the smells of spring and summer, envelop you, hold you in a space that's slow, sweet, comfortable. Heat and humidity make you leave your doors and windows open even at night, make you wear shorts and tank tops, make you take off your shoes and socks, make you tie your hair back and wipe the sweat off your neck.

And while I'm on the subject, I miss the sounds of insects. I'm sure heat and humidity make a more welcome space for all the night creatures that fill the air with a sound so loud I never thought I'd get it out of my head as a kid. Now it is gone, long gone, and I miss it. I miss the night sounds and I especially miss the day sounds of the cicadas -- a sound I can never adequately describe. I miss lightening bugs too and I can't believe there are kids who grew up w/o them -- magical, luminescent bugs, caught on hot evenings as the sun was draining from the sky by me and my cousins, tucked into canning jars with blades of grass and drops of water.

So, as wonderful and gorgeous as the unfolding spring here is -- with the new-green trees and prolific blossoms -- there's something missing and I feel the absence of it deep in my heart.


Anonymous michele said...

This is a beautiful and evocative description. Especially the cicadas. To me, they are the sound itself of heat. I cannot imagine a summer without them

11:14 AM  

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