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Summer in Norwalk: A precious phenomenon

By JIM BUSEK • Jul 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM

We adapt fast, don’t we?

A recent news item said that more than 70 per cent of the days so far this year have had precipitation. Fewer than 60 days and nights thus far in 2019 have been dry. June was mostly gray and cold.

But let it be near 90 for a couple of days, as it was late last week and we are instantly into summer mode, some people even complaining about the heat.

Next they will be saying we need some rain.

And there is nothing really new about that. People have behaved that way as long as I’ve been alive. Psychologists call it the “recency effect”: our thinking is dominated by the things that have happened to us most recently.

And recently we have had some perfect summer days.

That means we are at the doorstep of another predictable two months in Norwalk.

For instance, at this time of year, when the wind turns right, you are surrounded by the fragrance of buns baking at New Horizons.

Summit Motorsports Park thunders in the distance a couple of nights a week. Truck tires sing on the bypass round the clock. Canada geese honk along the reservoir. And the Japanese beetles attack the red leaves on my sand cherry.

I’ve been noticing the sound of trains more this summer. Although I am a guy who prefers peace and quiet, I find something comforting about the sound of trains in the distance, rumbling through town as they have for the past hundred and fifty years. They idle in from the west, glide between Manahan and Minard, rumble under the Linwood bridge and then begin the long uphill strain to Hartland Center, sounding their horns at five or six crossings within the city limits. Maybe if I lived closer to the tracks the train noises would annoy me. But now I find the whistle sounds at the distant crossings to have more in common with, say, regularly chiming church bells.

I like summertime storms, too. I enjoy the anticipation, watching the sky blacken, wondering if we will get a direct hit or a near miss, unfolding a lawn chair to watch the action—if it finally develops — from my open garage doorway.

The fireflies are late this year, but I’ve seen a few lately.

And everyone knows about the challenges farmers have faced thus far. Still, corn is starting to flutter in many fields. And I am counting on sweet corn to show up on the roadside stands pretty soon, too.

The Big Dipper is always impressive in summer. Looking skyward from the south Ursa Major appears to be right over downtown.

We never noticed the stars when we were buzzin’ the ave 55 years ago. But that’s what defined summer in Norwalk for us new drivers back then. (Footnote: when I googled “buzzin’ the ave” just now there was only one entry — and it was for Sandusky! My memories are starting to be erased like Marty McFly’s family photo in “Back To The Future.”)

Thank goodness we still have Vargo’s and H&B Hop. We liked our local drive-ins then and now.

But heed my warning to get out there and enjoy the summer; it goes by fast.

Thursday is the Fourth already. And a month later is the Fair.

Right about then we start to see back to school ads, the class enrollment listings for Maplehurst, Benedict and League, the high school football preview issue, and the first school lunch menus.

The good news is I’ve reminded you early enough that there is still plenty of time left to appreciate the precious phenomenon we call summer in Norwalk.


Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at jimbusek@ hotmail.com.

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