When I was a teenager, a boy I liked wrote something in my yearbook that I will never forget: “Have an awe-inspiring summer.” I’m sure he hardly thought about it at the time and probably doesn’t remember writing it now, but it had a profound effect on me.
Did I have an awe-inspiring summer then? No. Not really. I worked in the public library, read a lot of books, spent a week at the beach with my family. I didn’t really know how to go about having an awe-inspiring summer then.
This summer was awe-inspiring. For me, anyway. Why? Mainly the travel. I spent almost two weeks in the mountains where I grew up, a week in Wyoming where I went to Yellowstone and got to see Old Faithful and a bear, and finally a four-day trip that took me back to the mountains, then to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., and finally through Cherokee, N.C. and back home. Peppered in between I played school librarian and published Tracks in the Sand. It’s been a good summer. A productive summer. And it comes closer to approaching an awe-inspiring summer than any I’ve ever lived before. Even my kids think so.
And today I got an email from R. Paul Wilson, producer and director of “Our Magic”, a documentary about magic by magicians. I’m very excited about this documentary for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s about one of my favorite subjects. I’m also proud to be a backer of this project. The opportunity presented itself just when I started my Sleight of Hand series, and I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in a project with real magicians.
Check out the trailer here: Our Magic.
The cicadas are dying. It’s just what they do every year about this time. Throughout July they’re very loud–so loud and so constant, you barely hear them. But around the beginning of August, they start dropping out of the trees. That’s when you become aware of them. Instead of a continual, deafening, whirring chorus, fewer of the insects sing, and it’s a softer, less consistent song. Sometimes they even fall silent.
And you realize they’ve been singing all along and you didn’t really notice it.
While walking my puppy (who has to be walked at least once every hour), I came across a dying one today. He was still struggling to fly. I thought about how many times I’ve walked my pup this summer (innumerable–I think I mentioned how often he has to be walked) and realized I only noticed the cicadas a handful of times. But I heard their rattling chatter every time I went outside. Loud as it was, it faded into the background, became part of what I expected.
Soon I’ll walk outside and not hear them and I’ll notice it. The air will grow chillier, the sound of children confined to schoolyards in the day. Darkness will fall earlier and summer will end.
My puppy wanted to play with the cicada we found flopping ungracefully on the driveway, but I pulled him away. I was glad I did because in the next instant the cicada got his feet under him and summoned enough strength to whir back up into the trees. I’ll be able to hear him sing again. For a little while longer.