Unofficially, Houston is the most air-conditioned city in our nation.  At least I have heard a number of locals make that pronouncement.  Frankly, whether it is true or not, I for one am pleased that AC is common to wherever my local travels take me.

When I venture out-of-doors, a number of amazing phenomena occur.  First, my glasses fog up.  The cool lens in the humid hot weather immediately puts in a nostalgic mood for my San Francisco days. 

It is a problem that doesn’t go away on its own.  I have to remove my spectacles and wipe them dry.  Without an exception it always makes me laugh.

The second phenomenon is my breathing.  I catch my breath.  The contrast of emerging from an air-conditioned building is a shock.

Our solar system’s only star blasts me with bright rays.  Heat not only surrounds us but it is also radiated up from the asphalt or even more intensely from light-colored cement sidewalks.  It is time to take off the jacket that is sometimes a necessity indoors.

When I arrive at home, the sun has already set.  Evening temperatures are moderating some but then another phenomenon greets me in our neighborhood.  It is stunning.

This time it is not the sense of touch or dry lips seek a taste of a refreshing beverage.  Nor is it the sight of the bright sun.  Instead, it is the wonder of sound.

The trees are the home of a large insect called locusts.  They are critters with huge heads and large wings.  In the summer this colony of bugs respond to the temperatures and buzz their way through the night. 

Hearing the locusts is almost deafening.  Yet, at the same time it is so common to locals that they don’t even hear the nocturnal percussive symphony.  Newbies like me pause and listen in wonder.

The sound is powerful.  You feel engulfed from every angle.  God certainly added an amazing variety to this creation of His.

The Cicada are not like crickets or grasshoppers that rub their wings and legs together.  Instead, they have been created with an air sack in their abdomen.  This is the resonance chamber  that vibrates a membrane structure called tymbals.

It is noisy.  Yet, it is remarkable.   Furthermore, each of the five varieties make their own unique sound.  Fascinating!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography