Letting the breeze in through the windows today. I have grown so accustomed to air conditioning, that I am missing out on those sounds I love. Birds chirping, cicadas singing, the water trickling through the fountain. It's the cicadas I miss the most. That sound brings me right back to city summers....yes, there are cicadas in Queens......and we do have yards there. (One of the first questions my husband asked me when we first met was if I had a backyard or a fire escape. I think he envisioned all of Queens looking like Eddie Murphy's neighborhood in Coming to America.)
We didn't have air conditioning growing up. Summers were hot. and sticky. We had fans, but that didn't even seem to help most nights. When I was very young, my bedroom was on the first floor of the house. With the windows open I would hear my older brothers and their friends running between the houses playing Ring-a-lario in the dark. Ring-a-lario 1-2-3! Ring-a-lario 1-2-3! I would hear Mister Softee's jingle and wish I could get a chocolate cone with rainbow sprinkles.
As I got older, my room was upstairs in the back of the house. There was lots to hear through those windows.....
The grandmother around the corner yelling at Mister Softee to lower his music. I can still hear her shrill voice, and you can too, if you imagine Edith Bunker yelling, "QUIET! The baaaby's sleeping!!!!!"
Drag racing on the strip almost a mile away.
The occasional crash.
Voices from the television in the family room down below passing up through the steamy air into my window.
Cars driving down the side street, booming music.
Crickets. Always crickets. Even amongst those other sounds of summer.
And in the morning.....cicadas and sprinklers.