Something about that wet summer air induced sleep. It was hazy in the late afternoons and always very still.

Our neighbor, Phil, lived a half-mile down the street, but the hacking of his lawn mower's choke carried all the way up the block in that stillness. The cicadas and the AC in the window would drone along with it and the air would smell of grill smoke and gasoline and freshly-cut grass. All of this was very lulling.

One never wandered too far from the front stoop during those hours. It was better to be indoors—to sprawl across cool sheets and doze until supper at six. By then, the lawnmower would have given way to the crickets and the jasmine buds would have purged the last, pungent remnants of lawn clipping. Every night, my father picked the buds fresh from the potted shrub on the back porch and left them in a neat pile on the kitchen counter. They would be brown and wilted by morning.

And finally the haze would lift, leaving the darkness crisp and fresh. Some nights, we brought out the telescope and looked at the moon—so round, and beautiful, and bright.

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