Of course, they're back. It is early August and the bug world is full upon us.
The fireflies came back first. They appeared in early June and have been dotting the evenings ever since. A couple of weekends back, we sat out late in Margo and Gerald's backyard, and I watched the fireflies rise in waves from the yard and from the cornfields that surround the yard.
It was July before I heard the first cicada, a lone one drumming in a treetop as I walked underneath. More have showed up since. The cicadas are quieter this year, but their chatter punctuates the days, especially the warm, sunny ones.
The katydids showed up a few nights after the cicadas started their daytime keening. I heard my first one in Columbus as we passed an old trolley park late in the evening. It took a few more days before I heard the same rasps at night in our own backyard. Now I fall asleep to a full chorus. The sounds are not unlike a percussionist checking out güiros, ratchets, and other traps before setting up for a performance.
And the bees are back.
With the failing bee population, I hold my breath every summer. Will there be bees? Will they come back again?
If the rudbeckia bed is any indication, the local bee population is in good shape.
The bee are busy, so busy that I can bend over a laundry basket right next to some rudbeckia blooms without any confrontations. They are so thick that the rudbeckia bed hums faintly.
My parents come over for supper once a week and last Thursday we ate out on the deck. My dad was facing the rudbeckia bed and I noticed that during the meal his eyes kept lifting to the bees. Finally he spoke.
"There must be a bee tree nearby, or someone's keeping hives. I haven't seen so many bees in a long time."
Then dad was quiet, his eyes lifting again to the thick of the bees, watching them work the summer away.