Chrysanthemums add their colorful notes to an August garden.

Chrysanthemums add their colorful notes to an August garden.

There is a music to the seasons that emanates from all of nature and that goes beyond the cheeps and calls of birds and caws of crows and the sounds the wind makes in the treetops. It’s the song nature sings at different times of the year and that builds in intensity like a concerto grosso as the music is passed among the seasonal soloists. Right now, it’s August’s turn in the limelight, humming her lazy end-of-summer melody accompanied by cicadas during the day and crickets at dusk. When it rains in August, the thirsty earth imbibes the normally noisy drops eagerly but quietly, the lushness of tree and mosscovered stone muffling the sound. The trees still extend their leafy arms to shield the ground from the onslaught and alters the sound of the breeze as it slips in between each twig and petiole.

 

 

While each season supplies its own special touches to the overall composition, each sings in a decidedly different voice that, at one’s end and another’s beginning, overlap in harmony before each falls away to reveal a single steady note held through its entire existence. Winter’s song is an extended whisper, interspersed with icy sighs or muffled roars as snow moves in softly or fiercely depending upon nature’s whim at any given moment. She may throw in a cracking note or two as trees snap or topple beneath their weight of ice, the chatter of sleet against glass, or a tinkling accompaniment of dripping during a thaw.

Spring begins as a few tentative notes, shrill and unschooled, random and eager to break with the long months of frigid tradition that winter imposed. Then, nature is a group of children running and shrieking with joy as the yellows and greens explode from the treetops and the first leaves unfurl from the soil. By May, her song is full and rich and hints at the depth that her notes will develop during June and early July, a sure and steady melody that carries us through long warm sundrenched days and nights bathed in star and moonlight with the occasional deep bass roll or sharp retort of thunder to break up what to beach-goers and sunbathers is not monotonous at all. August picks up the melody where late July leaves off, the air a muggy somnolent blend of sounds highlighted by the buzzing of bees and hummingbirds and the more mournful sound now of the loon, as if it knows, which it surely must, that its days here are once again numbered.

These August nights belong to crickets, those clandestine little creatures that sometimes appear out of nowhere during the day to hop across my porch or from under my car. I’ve seen the tiniest young ones as well as the largest old-timers, and I always, always enjoy their nightly serenade. It occurred to me recently that their unique chirp is actually suggestive of something cold. It’s short, shrill, precise and icy in its delivery, speaking, or singing, rather, to what lies ahead in this, a place where each season is given its own full shrift.

As much as I love fall and rank it as my personal favorite, I do have a fondness for August as well as for its shortening warm days and longer cooler nights. Her song lulls me, sets me down gently after the torridness and sleeplessness of July, gives me pause to contemplate what has just passed and what may lie ahead during the year’s explosively colorful culmination. It’s a pleasant transition for those who thrill to whatever nature offers, who find beauty and something to love in all the seasons, and to the songs they sing as much as to their sights.

— Rachel Lovejoy, a freelance writer living in Lyman, who enjoys exploring the woods of southern Maine, can be reached via email at [email protected]


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