Midsummer night

Twenty-odd years ago, I got into the habit of staying up late in the summer. I was living outside Philadephia, it was brutally hot every day for weeks. My job allowed me to pretty much set my own hours, so I stayed up late, sometimes all night, to take advantage of the cooler night air. I’ve been in love with summer nights ever since then.

This afternoon, it got brutally hot. I’m on vacation, so I had the luxury of not having to work, and instead I sat around in a stupor. Now it’s night, a magical summer night, and I can stay up late to enjoy it.

I can see some lights on in the upstairs apartment of the house over on Ford St.; at least one other night owl lives nearby. The moon has set already. The orange hazard lights on the construction crew’s sawhorses blink on and off all along Ford Street in an odd rhythm.

And I can hear the various hums and whines from all the neighbors’s air conditioners. The third shift of the Burgess Norton factory over on Anderson Boulevard has one of the doors open again, so I can hear faint factory sounds: machinery clacking away, the “beep-beep-beep-beep” as a forklift backs up. Across town, a late-night freight rumbles along the Union Pacific line.

The first light of day will come at about 3:30. That’s the time I came awake two nights ago, to hear a few birds idly start to sing. They thought better of it, stopped, and began again in earnest at 4:30 when dawn was more sure.