Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Sounds of Summer

When I was growing up, I loved the sound of the window fan in my bedroom at night.  There was no central air conditioning and heating back then.  We had a furnace in the basement to which we fed coal for heat and opening up all the windows and using window fans was our summer cooling system.  And I loved the sound of that window fan.  I would lie perfectly still and listen as the fan used it's soft hums to lull me to sleep.

When we camped out in the backyard in the summer months, I loved to listen to the crickets (or were they cicadas?).  Funny that I never tried to find the little things and capture them.  Some people are annoyed by their sounds but, for me, their songs worked as a lullaby.

I loved the sounds of all the kids at the neighborhood pool--of kids having fun.  There was plenty of laughter; applause when some silly boy did a belly flop when he really meant to impress some girl with a lovely swan dive; girls screaming as the boys pushed them into the pool from their strategic positions on the side of the pool; splashing; and the ever popular Marco/Polo...

The sounds of us kids running around the backyard playing Freeze Tag or chasing lightning bugs for capture in our jars with the holes punched in the lids.  Although, sometimes, there might be some disagreement over whether or not someone was actually tagged during Freeze Tag.

When I visited my grandparents I loved waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping in the yard.  My grandmother used to say, "Listen to that one!  He's talking about you!  Do you hear what he's saying?"  And I would listen so very hard and Grandmother would translate, "Prettygirlprettygirl."

There was the squeaky sound of the screen door as we opened it and then let it slam shut even though our parents would yell out, as soon as they heard the squeak, "Don't slam the screen door!"

The sound of a bee buzzing past my head; barking dogs; squirrels chasing each other round and round and up and down a tree; an approaching thunder storm; rain as it beat against the house; the ice cream truck...

Once the lovelies came along my list of favorite summer sounds grew to include the laughing of the gulls at the beach, the sounds of the waves hitting the shore and the lovelies laughing as the waves knocked them down.  And the sound of their shovels digging in the sand for the building of truly magnificent sandcastles.  The screech of their swing set as they yelled out, "Look how high I can go Mommy!"  The sound of anyone mowing the lawn BESIDES ME and backyard cookouts...

Seems there's something to summer besides heat and humidity after all. 

Here's another sound... from the summer of my eleventh year:

What are your favorite summer sounds?


  1. I saw Sly and the Family Stone at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA. I was in 10th grade :-) I thought it was so cool to go a concert..haha How about "IThink We're Alone Now" by Tommy James and the Shondells or In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron or one of my fav's was a Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum :-)

  2. My all-time fav summer sound is the gentle bell/gong sound as the channal marker off shore of the cottage rocks on the tide. That together with the hundreds of gulls squaking in the early morns and evenings is my most favourite thing to listen to. I could be there forever!

  3. Though I'm not a big fan of summer the sounds you mentioned do give me the same kind of cozy feeling. Kids playing, the ice cream truck, crickets and birds in the morning. It gives you that feeling of 'some things never change' and those are some nice ones.

  4. Jeff- Hey, it WAS cool to go to a concert! LOL Our youngest is in West VA right now at the All Good Music Festival---don't think I could do that anymore.

    Rosemary- I can imagine that the sounds of the channel marker and the gulls are wonderful! We have the gulls here too and I enjoy them.

    Mom- I'm not a fan of summer either because of the heat and humidity- it's just BRUTAL! But I agree with you about the sentimentality of the sounds...pretty sure that's why I like them too.

  5. Oh wow! Does that post bring back memories of childhood! I think I'm going to have to write a post on this same topic. Living on a farm, some of the sounds I remember so well were (like you) the screen door slamming, and the sound of the tractor and baler in the field and the sound of mourning doves.

  6. I remember the smell of the first mowing of lawn. Whenever I smell that now, I think of me as a child in my front yard trying to do a cartwheel. Those were the days!


  7. You have no idea what your memory of the screen door slamming means to me. Just the greatest memories of both my grandparents in NY and in WV. Thanks for reminding me of great times.

  8. What wonderful summer memories you evoked today! I used to love driving past the fields with my parents, with all the haystacks neatly piled up after the annual harvest, and lying in the school field on my back, looking up at the clear blue sky with the occasional white cloud scudding by. There were always blue skies back then!!!! After Easter, putting on my school summer dress for the first time and my brown Clarks t-bar sandals. Wonderful!

  9. You paint some great pictures there of the sort of childhood I wish I'd had. You're a lucky lady :)


  10. My little memory lane is a few years longer than yours but the sounds are all the same. I also loved the sound of the grass sprinklers that twirled on the lawn after supper.

    But I think my favorite home sound of all was my mother working in the kitchen. Somehow, that just meant security to me.

    Thanks, for bringing it all back.

  11. Judy- O, I hope you do write one! I'd LOVE to read it!

    Susan- Yes! Turning cartwheels! I'm not sure I ever got my legs completely straight up in the air!

    Barb- I'm so glad this post spurred such wonderful memories for you!

    Diane- I remember lying in the grass on a nearby hill trying to identify the shapes in the passing clouds too! Wasn't that grand?! So glad you pulled up some lovely memories!

    Jane-I am lucky indeed. And you seem to making sure that those around you are having all the things you didn't- now that's something wonderful in itself!

    Stephanie- O yes, the sprinklers! It was my grandmother in the kitchen for me--she always sang while she cooked. You are so welcome!

  12. Awww..... you've conjured up some magical summer images with this blog post. And it was beautifully written. I love the sounds of summer, except for today ..... when the rain was pelting against the windows. That wasn't supposed to happen!

  13. Annie- We have had very little rain and we need some- so feel free to send it over here!

  14. Yesterday I was looking through some YouTube videos from the 80's (I'll be posting soon) I read another post of someone else doing the same thing. Great minds.
    ~ Mona : )
    Mona’s Milestones

  15. That brings back such wonderful memories. We did have central heat and then we got air later. Loved the sounds of summer. I think that's why I enjoy going to Mammoth Lakes, CA each summer. Here at home we have our air on 24/7. Maybe that's why I like our sound machine at night. Great song!


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