Writer’s Block: Winding Down

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

I love the summertime. I love the long days filled with warm sunshine and the hum of cicadas so loud they can clearly be heard indoors, even with a television or stereo turned loud.

Throughout winter and spring, I eagerly await the arrival of summer. I yearn for days where the sun shines for 12-13 hours each day. I yearn for the twilights of dawn and dusk that carry on languidly, easing you into the start of each day and carrying you gently into the balmy warmth of night.

It might seem kind of paradoxical how much I love the length of summer days when I’ve always been such a night owl, even since birth when I was born as the clock marked the end of one day and the beginning of another. But I do.

Logically, I know the days slowly begin to shorten again right after the summer solstice, but for me, those 9 p.m. sunsets feel like they happen every evening for weeks. Then inevitably on some sweltering August afternoon, I’ll look up from what I’m doing and realize that the sky’s a bit darker than it was at this time “yesterday.” And even though the mercury in the thermometer indicates otherwise, I’ll suddenly realize summer is drawing to a close.

Now, I know we’ve still got a few weeks left before the official start of autumn, but the signs of fall have already begun to show themselves. For one thing, kids across the Valley have already begun filling gyms and grassy fields as they prepare for the new football and volleyball seasons. Too, it’s been a couple of weeks since local stores have stocked their shelves with school supplies.

I heard an osprey whistling from his perch high atop a cellphone tower earlier this week, too. They tend to hang out around these parts more in the fall and winter. Soon, other birds will follow him — birds of prey, shorebirds, song birds. Our native brown pelicans will be joined by their migratory cousins, the American white pelicans.

Practice football jerseys and pads shining in the sun will be replaced by brightly colored game day uniforms and helmets gleaming beneath stadium lights. The susurrus of the Gulf breeze will be drowned out by raucous fans filling the stands.

The sharp song of the cicadas will be replaced by the staccato chirp of crickets and the croaking of bull frogs. The sunsets will still be spectacular — this is Texas, after all; we’re big sky country — they’ll just be a few hours earlier than they are now. The heat probably won’t go anywhere, but that’s not so bad, really.

Something changes in the air, too. You can smell it in the stillness of the morning. You can smell the impending change in season.

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting close. For now, I’ll enjoy what’s left of these dog days of summer and once again wait for the days to stretch rather than shrink.

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