Did a little work in the garden before it gets punishingly hot, tossed some petunias into the bare patches. Blessed are the annuals, who hide our failures!

Gardening smells like sweat and basil, with a hint of pine from the bark mulch.

The tropical storm is supposed to hit us tomorrow, although it will have deteriorated to just drenching rains, which we could use. The coast may get whomped a bit, but in the Piedmont, where we live, it’s just gonna be wet.

Saw a dead cicada yesterday. Its lower shell was ripped off, and it was scooped out like an orange. The yard appears to be home to cicada wasps, amid all the other wildlife.

I am beginning to suspect that heat is tied to the sound of cicadas. This time of year, you hear them even in the house, a low hiss of static, the world tuned just a half degree to the wrong station and getting some interference.

Any heat is made hotter by a cicada soundtrack. They’re like the manifestation of summer. After weeks of hearing them, and rarely seeing them, you start to suspect that maybe there are no living creatures called cicadas, maybe they’re just heat given voice. Lightning has thunder, heat has cicadas. The dead husks are just a red herring.

Or maybe it’s not a voice but an unintentional noise, the rattle of invisible scales against bark, as the heat of the day scratches itself against the tops of the pine trees. I dunno, though. Heat here doesn’t seem scaly. Arizona heat, now, it had scales, rank on rank of serrated dust, like a horned toad. But heat in the south is a wet, smothering thing, a fever blanket hung off the treetops.

Possibly the cicadas here are just cicadas. But I wouldn’t count on it.

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