Summer of senses and sounds
Summer is a season of senses. All the sights of sunny days, smells of grass and dusty yards, taste of berries, feel of heat and cool swims and sounds of holiday action.
Nelson hummed with a massive music festival this summer with over 20,000 people added to the usual holiday population explosion. I can only imagine the crowds and crams, bands and buses, people and parties and imagine just how out of place this country bumpkin would feel there.
How different city summer sounds are compared with our out-of-town experience and noises our rural ears enjoy.
There’s all the normal sounds of farm life. Rooster crowing about his chooks. Chooks cackling about eggs. Dogs in paddocks barking at work and dogs in kennels barking advice. Motorbikes heading out doing jobs and back for cuppas. Washing machine rumbling, cat crunching biscuits.
There’s birdsong and chirping, pukeko shrieking, and the inevitable call of the phone. And usually a background roll of the waves from the sea we can’t see from our home.
Lambs have been weaned mob by mob and for a few days ewes and offspring bleat across the valley until they settle. An indication of healthy water in the lakes and ponds as frogs croaked courting calls. And at the lakes with those happy amphibians, the happy sounds of children swimming, splashing, laughing and spending healthy active time away from screens and technology.
The raft Jock and the kids made has been well used for diving off and paddling around on Huckleberry Finn-style adventures.
The vehicle noise on the road increases with holiday traffic. Campervans and family movers go up and down with kayaks and backpacks strapped on top. A surprising number of cars turn off and crawl up our drive. Visitors here are welcomed by over-the-top woofing from our over enthusiastic schnauzer taking his role as watch dog over seriously. Rossy’s noisy yapping is met with my own noisy yelling trying to stop him dangerously running down to greet them. It probably reinforces his bad behaviour and now if I spot someone coming up I shut the dog up.
This summer has been windy and the constant blowing is tiring. It has whooshed from every direction and an easterly sneaking in our ill-fitting front door creates a wearing whistle which is difficult to silence.
I put the net out which brought in fish, and also brings familiar sounds of squelching mud and that distinctive soft musical sound that fisherfolk recognise of breeze playing on the nylon net. One calm day, we kayaked up one of the rivers which run from the inlet into the bush-clad valleys. I enjoy the sounds of paddles dipping and waves slapping the bottom of the boat. Yesterday, I heard a sound that refreshes memories of late summers and hot days. The first cicada emerged from the darkness of dirt, left his dried up shell, crawled up a pole and set up joyful song. That cheerful cic-cic-ciccing is one of summer’s lovely sounds giving good reason to stop to let senses store the memories of this season.
The sounds of summer include dogs yapping and freshly weaned lambs at Joyce Wyllie’s farm at Kaihoka; right, 20,000 festival goers pack in to Nelson’s Trafalgar Park to party in the blazing sun at Bay Dreams.