While eating a late dinner on the back porch, Reese pauses. "I hear bugs singing," she says.
We momentarily fall silent and listen to the crickets, surprisingly loud in their early August drone. I hadn't even noticed them until she commented.
Summer, I sense, is slipping away. The humid days have rolled into the next, and weeks have passed in that simultaneously lazy and rapid manner that defies common sense.
Each night I kiss the girls' heads, sweaty and sticky, and we let the day's worth of accumulated filth drain away with the bathwater. I towel dry and brush their short bobs to remove as many tangles as possible before they squirm and pull away, and then release them for bed. The scent of shampoo lingers after they've left.
The house and yard burst with evidence of the summer. Suncreen bottles and canisters, most nearly empty, line our counters. The girls' swimsuits, once vibrant, have faded and lost elasticity. Scuffed flip flops litter the hallway near the front door. A few zucchini from the garden rest in the refrigerator. After weeks of punishing heat and little rain, the grass has resigned to dormancy, brown and rough underneath my bare feet. The flowers, so lush in May and June, have passed their prime.
I begin to long for cooler weather, envision changing leaves, and think about wearing jeans again.
But then I listen to those crickets.
They're loud, yet I'm able to tune them out. They're a constant reminder to focus on what's happening now. Soon enough summer will rush to a close, slipping through my fingers like the end of a kite string. School will begin. Days will shorten. Boots eventually will be scattered in the hallway where flip flops once lay. Grass will frost over as the earth settles into its winter freeze.
So, tonight I listen to the crickets. I breathe in the sultry air, let my feet rest on the patio, still warm from baking in the day's sun, and enjoy this lazy summer night while it's here.