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Taking time to listen to the music of the seasons

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By Janet Storm

Sunday, August 12, 2018

I take my little dogs outside to our small, enclosed patio every evening. When it’s cold or raining, we generally head back inside in a hurry. Other nights we linger.

On the nights we stay outside for awhile, we hear a variety of sounds. Dogs bark, people on their own patios talk and laugh. But my favorite sound comes after it has rained enough to fill the drainage ditch behind my townhouse. The night erupts with a symphony of croaking frogs.

I have always liked frogs and the sounds they make. There is a surprising variety to their vocalizations.

At times their rich ribbiting seem disjointed — then suddenly they will get into a groove, croaking in an odd sort of harmony. It’s magical; a sort of summer song that never fails to remind me that the world is full of wonder. 

There are other songs of summer, of course. Children splashing in a pool, the buzz of insects, the sizzle of dinner cooking on a grill, quiet conversations in the lingering twilight. A friend of mine likes the sound of ice cubes clinking in a glass and the whirl of a lawnmower. All of these make a glorious mix. 

Other seasons have songs as well. To me, fall’s melody is crisp and clear — the sound of feet scuffing through leaves, the rumble of a school bus, pencils scratching paper for assignments, the cheer of a crowd at a football game and the scuttle of busy squirrels. Add to that the yips of an excitable little dog who sees the squirrels, and you have autumn’s composition, as golden as the days we travel through.

Winter’s song is cool and sharp. Ice cracks, wood fires crackle. Teeth chatter and feet stamp. The wind howls at us and we howl back. Sometimes the melody is muffled when we wrap up tight. Other times it is so loud it pushes against us. The season can surprise us with warm notes from carols or cozy conversations. But then we return of the sound of scraping snow from our car windshields and the whirl of heat pumps in the early morning hours.

Spring’s song is the sweetest and softest of all the seasons. Birds chirp, plants rustle, breezes whisper and rain patters. Boots pull up from soggy soil with a sticky gasp. On quiet days you can almost hear the flowers opening. It’s a gentle, lovely melody, more than welcome after winter’s sharp symphony — like a bubble of laughter or a sign of relief.

Too often these days, we are surrounded by shouting. Anger, exasperation, insults and accusations fill our ears. It is hard to listen to the season’s song when there is so much noise to block it out. Sometimes it is easy to believe there is no music left in the world.

Perhaps that’s why, on warm evenings, I linger so long on my patio. My little dogs sniff each corner of the yard contentedly and I listen to the frogs croaking out a tribute to all that is best in summer. A few doors down, someone laughs, ice clinks in a glass.

And I drink in the season’s ever-shifting melody, glad to be in tune with the sounds that make my spirit sing.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.

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