Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Audience of one

Beauty has its hazards. You get used to it, and you stop paying attention. And the golden moments are lost in a welter of fussing about shopping bags and battery chargers and to-do lists.

All summer long, the crickets have been presenting their nightly chorus on my lawn every evening. Such a warm, happy, summery sound! I listened, and listened, and then forgot to listen. I didn't even notice when the season ended and the chirps fell silent.

But I was reminded again this Sunday afternoon, walking by the river in the sunshine, when I heard one lone cricket celebrating the warmth. I looked around and soon found his mate, resting on the side of the path.

Field cricket, female. She doesn't sing. But she does listen.

The background of stones and sticks made it hard to see her, so I tickled her with a dried leaf until she walked onto it, meaning to transfer her to a solid background. She had other ideas; she crawled into the curled edge of the leaf and anchored herself there. No amount of shaking would dislodge her.

"You can't see me in here."

Is it a trick of the light, or is the tip of her ovipositor red?

I left her there, by the side of the trail, listening to her chirping mate.

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