Summer nights in Texas are sultry and sleepless. They sound like cicadas, coyotes and running water. You kick off your covers and roll over, searching for a part of the bed not drenched in sweat. In my childhood I often slept outside on the porch. I’d go out in a long white night gown and read by candlelight for hours. Most nights I just lay awake, too hot to sleep, looking at the moonlit oak trees and listening to all the night sounds. Over the summers I experienced everything from hearing strangers on our land to a racoon in my makeshift bed. I quit my temporary camp once and for all when I witnessed a spider devour a junebug, wrapping its long legs around the struggling insect with a viciousness that I still shiver to contemplate.
Once I tried to sleep in the pool, but I didn’t like floating in the black water. Now I just pour ice water over my head before getting into bed. I like summer nights at ranches best, where you can stay up by a fire watching the stars come out and move over the sky until finally they disappear to one horizon as the sun rises at the other. Texas summer nights may be hot, but you sure do miss them at the first sign of a Texas summer day.