I’m in the neighborhood where I spent high school, shepherding my dad post-surgery, though he’s relatively self-sufficient. I spend a lot of time reading and Dad spends a fair amount of time working or watching TV. To keep myself sane and give myself something to do besides stare at a screen or clean, I’ve been walking the dog as far as she wants to go.
Today we saw a dried up flattened small snake. It was flipped onto its back. I think a car hit it, and then it dried out in the heat wave. I used a stick to flip it back over, and, just as I suspected, it was a baby copperhead. I felt a brief chill and resolved again not to let the dog into the long grass. I wonder where the snakes are in my parents’ neighborhood; I’m sure there are more here, but there are no woodpiles or other similar snakey hiding places that I’ve seen. Only manicured lawns, swimming pools, the occasional tennis court.
Tia took me far today. Far for a small dog, anyway. We walked to a church where I used to meet my first boyfriend. I remember holding hands and kissing in the graveyard. I remember walking this way to his house when we’d broken up and I wanted to reconcile. That was almost ten years ago.
Walking home, I listened to the sound of the cicadas, the stock sound of Southern summers. Whenever I watch a movie or a TV show with that shivering sound, I am taken back to our old house in Louisiana, sitting on the back deck and hearing the cicadas and the whipoorwills. Sometimes I find my mind back in a grassy field at the elementary school in the early morning, smelling the dew-wet grass. Sometimes I’m playing football in the front yard, feeling itchy and damp from the humidity and the mosquitos and the grass.
All of these things feel like a long time ago; I’m not sure why I haven’t made adult memories associated with the sound of cicadas. If and when I do, I doubt they’ll make marks like the ones already in my head.