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Richard Crowson Commentary

June's Symphony Interrupted by the 4th of July


On mild summer evenings like we’ve had recently, it’s almost possible to believe the world is full of nothing more than cottonwood trees.

A gentle wisp of breeze can shake ten thousand of their leaves into a mild wave of applause. They’re still tender, not yet drying out the way they do in late August, and they make a softer summer sound in the Kansas wind.

Combine that lulling cottonwood string section with the brass sound of maturing frogs from a nearby creek. Then let the cicadas pulse out their percussive rhythms and you have an earthy symphony on the prairie.

It’s a symphony comprised of nature’s subtle music, honed over millions of years.

We block it out with our ear buds and our rolled up car windows and our hermetically sealed homes pumped throughout with the constant drone of our air conditioners.

Ah, well – such is modern life.

We were having a rare moment, walking Lucy, accidentally rediscovering nature’s sweet late June symphony, when the mood was startlingly interrupted.

A series of firecracker pops made Lucy jump out of her Airedale skin.

“There, there, Lucy,” my wife intoned. “Remember we’re coming up on Independence Day. That’s the day when normally intelligent human beings perform insane actions that are completely independent of their reasoning brains. It’s time for folks to blow things up in honor of the Fourth of July.”

Lucy shivered like a cottonwood leaf and we went back into our hermetically sealed, air conditioned home. The symphony was over.