The Sound of the August Garden

It is early evening, and there is just enough light to see as I meander through the garden, a last visit before dark.  Angel Eyes and I wander about, pausing to listen to the insect orchestra from various vantage points. A steady two note drone provides the underlying ostinato, while pointillistic voices of cicadas and crickets spring from every direction in polite succession.  It may be too cool this evening for the tree frog chorus – on a warm night, they are the antiphonal brass and rat-a-tat percussion of this natural orchestra, but tonight it seems to be strings and woodwinds.

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I love living surrounded by trees – my attempts to compose surround sound pieces seem feeble when compared to the robust chorus of our woodlands in August.  I really should be in my studio tonight, working on the fourth movement of a large work called “The Four Elements” – fire, or perhaps Lux Aeterna.  But it is difficult to tear myself away from the amazing concert in the garden.  So . . .  I pour myself a modest glass of wine and surrender to nature’s concert once again – Angel and I go out onto the deck for a final listening session.

The late August garden is a tall and blowsy affair.  The plants that survived July’s burning sun and dry soil have caught their second wind and are encouraged into fresh growth by the cooler nights and the rainy remnants of the hurricane season.  Hummingbirds and butterflies flock to their favorite flowers, building up energy for their imminent migrations.  Everything is tall – the shrubs have grown extra arms that reach everywhere, the grasses have sprouted tall wands that catch the wind, and everything seems to flow and spill and tumble in a rush to be seen and tasted before summer ends.

Now it is almost dark – the brash golds and burgundies of Rudbeckia and Zinnia are now only rendered as silhouettes in the fading light.  It is chilly enough to want a sweater and a cup of tea – but it is hard to go inside when the fading light still reveals layer upon layer of texture, shape, movement . . . it is difficult to leave, to walk away from the enchantment of Mother Earth’s humble orchestra.  Tonight, the windows will remain open to the sound of the August garden.

Listen to the sounds of the cicadas and tree frogs.


Text and audio of “The Sound of the August Garden” ©2011 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved