A stratum of sunlit leaves forming in the forest understory. A cicada wakes up. Under the house, something coughs.
Sunny and humid. The electric whine of annual cicadas ebbs and flows. A hummingbird flies into the forest’s wall of leaves at top speed.
The cicada chorus ebbs and swells. I notice the big tulip tree has shed all its drought-yellowed leaves from a month ago and is green again.
As the heat builds, the cicadas’ electric drills fall silent one by one. Coneflowers wilt until they look like yellow jellyfish.
A weird cry, like an alarm clock keening for consummation: a lone 17-year cicada, far from the main body of its brood. It stops. It resumes.
In the course of an hour, the only bird calls are from a couple of crows. But there are four kinds of crickets, a cicada, a distant jet.
Hazy and warm. As the sun climbs, the cicada chorus grows, and the field cricket in the garden chirps faster and faster.
Workmen up at the other house: the whine of an annual cicada in the trees alternates with an actual electric saw.
A cicada lies on its back on the porch, legs churning the air. I turn it over and the dog gives it a good, close reading with her nose.
Backlit by the sun against the dark woods, a swarm of lekking gnats, their Brownian motion now faster, now slower. An annual cicada’s whine.
It’s hot. At last the annual cicadas sound fully charged. The air is alive with tiny insects in non-intersecting orbits back-lit by the sun.
A cicada starts his electric saw and stops. It’s too cold for cicadas. The sky’s a deep blue. A walnut leaf curled like a boat floats down.
In the weak sunlight, only leaves at just the right angle glisten, dully, like the eyes of dead fish. A cicada calls twice and falls silent.
Another quiet morning as the songbirds go through their annual molt. Cicada. Yellow-billed cuckoo. Last night’s rain glistens on the grass.