Summer is in the sounds. Not in the date, although I have to go with the original and official one of today. Nor the long hours of sunshine, nor the heat they sweep through the stifling streets.
Summer enters through my ears, as windows are left open and gardens are used as that extra room we so long for in winter.
The open windows let in the thrumming lawnmowers, the early morning blackbirds, the engine of the scooter delivering the papers. The rumbling train on the other side of the city enters our room on its way to Paris. The cars on the distant motorway accelerate past our bed. Planes whoosh over our heads on their flightpath to even warmer climes. None of these are noticed at any other season. They are muffled by the glass and the shutters and the rain. The winter wind pulls them in the other direction. The summer breeze blows them into our home.
And our garden becomes our living-room. A comfy, closed-off green space on a residential square where we can clearly hear all our neighbours but never actually see them. I know their names but not their faces. I could recognise them by their voice but not by their smile. They are the people I live nearest to but we have never shaken hands. It is very sad but true. We enter our homes by different streets so our paths never cross. But I know their lives as if we were close. Their summer lives. Their winter lives remain a mystery.
The two little boys at the back are no longer quite so little. Their games are changing, their interests shifting. There is a new grandson on the left. He is beginning to speak when before he only gurgled. The four young lads on the right are adults now and mostly gone. The youngest has changed from a squeaky climbing-frame fan to a deep-voiced future engineer.
The years will continue to change these sounds, our own included. We still, and hopefully always will create noisy, chatter-filled mealtimes, but where before there was jumping and swinging and splashing, now there is the whisper of the turn of a page.
So I will be quiet now, fling wide open the window to the night, and simply drink in the sweet sounds of summer.