Different parts of the world have different indications that summer has arrived, apart from the heat. Here in the desert Southwest we have our own interpretations. For me, it is much more than the 100+ temperatures and the lack of humidity.

It’s summer when the lows stay above 70; when the cicadas are going full throttle day in and day out; when we start getting excited at every cloud that appears over the mountains, no matter how small the cloud; when we feel the humidity inching into double digits; when you don’t dare wear dangly metal earrings when getting into a car that’s been sitting in the sun all day; when parking in the shade is much more important than getting a spot right by the door.

The cicadas have been gearing up for a couple of weeks now. There were a few tentative buzzes here and there. Yesterday, practice was over, and the buzzing was non-stop all afternoon. After being outside and listening to that racket, the silence is deafening inside the house, even with Pink Floyd at full volume. But the temperatures have been going down as low as 69 at night, so it’s not quite here yet. My dangly metal earrings are all safely put away until October or November when there will be no danger of burns on my neck. There are a few tiny, cotton-ball-size clouds over the mountains, but the humidity is still only somewhere around 5-7%.

I can feel the anticipation, and the complaints about how hot it is have been voiced for at least two weeks. It’s going to be a long summer.