Forgotten sounds and smells of summer

Sounds and smells of summer

In the neighborhood where I lived as a child, no one had air conditioning in his home.  Consequently, in the heat of the summer, our windows were always left open and the wonderful sounds and smells of the outdoors were as much a part of our lives as the Louisville heat and humidity.

Often in the mornings, I was awakened by song birds or the sound of lawn mowers roaring in the distance.  We lived a mile or so away from train tracks where many a night the sound of a locomotive would serve as a lullaby segueing into a prelude of my first dream.

Mom would make us take naps in the afternoon.  I remember lying there in my bed with the fragrance of fresh clean sheets wafting through my window from the clothesline in the backyard.  It took my mind off the brutal heat long enough to fall asleep. Oh…the sounds and smells of summer.

But without any fanfare, it all came to a screeching halt with the advent of  “central air-conditioning.”   That cool air sure seemed like the perfect tradeoff at the time…but was it?  It was an awful lot to give up in the name of comfort.

Well, with being on vacation this week and temperatures in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, we turned off the air and opened the windows.  Instantly,  my senses went 3D as the sounds and smells of not only summer, but my youth as well, came roaring back like that freight train in my home town.

Those wonderful sounds and smells of summer triggered more memories than any picture album ever could.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my central air conditioning but Mother Nature couldn’t have timed the perfect weather any better…thanks for the memories.

Bill Peak
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