July 23, 2010
Listening to a cricket
Perhaps it is a sign of good luck to hear the first cricket of the evening. I heard this lone cricket earlier as I went out taking my West Highland Terrier for a minute or two of exterior roaming about. A lone cricket was chirping, within a few minutes a tree frog and owl joined in. It was only a matter of seconds and choruses of crickets and tree frogs were all chirping and whistling away. Might have been that first one just needed to get everyone going. It was an interesting musical trio for an evening in July. The air temperature was in the mid seventies after a blistering hot day and it was warm this evening for this time of year.
“In early days we were close to nature. We judged time, weather conditions, and many things by the elements–the good earth, the blue sky, the flying of geese, and the changing winds. We looked to these for guidance and answers. Our prayers and thanksgiving were said to the four winds–to the East, from whence the new day was born; to the South, which sent the warm breeze which gave a feeling of comfort; to the West, which ended the day and brought rest; and to the North, the Mother of winter whose sharp air awakened a time of preparation for the long days ahead. We lived by God’s hand through nature and evaluated the changing winds to tell us or warn us of what was ahead. Today we are again evaluating the changing winds. May we be strong in spirit and equal to our Fathers of another day in reading the signs accurately and interpreting them wisely. May Wah-Kon-Tah, the Great Spirit, look down upon us, guide us, inspire us, and give us courage and wisdom. Above all, may He look down upon us and be pleased.” Unknown Speaker addressing the National Congress of American Indians in the mid 1960’s
When I was outside there was a feeling of peace. The sky was starting to darken and the glow from the nearly full moon sliding across the sky was evident. A breeze was blowing just enough to rustle the leaves and needles of the pines and oak trees. When I came in I checked my emails and such, generally a few thoughts of the day and other bits of wisdom stashed about on the internet. Nothing struck me as a good start for the next morning. Then I recalled after much reading a passage I had seen a few years back. I have a Farmers almanac on my desk at school; rural folks have used this book for many years as the guide for planting and farming.
When I first moved to Georgia in the early seventies I remember a fellow who worked for us for a quite a few years. He was born and raised within ten miles of his house. Nature was an integral part of his learning and awareness. He had farmed on this piece of property all his life. Growing up working mules across terraces and poisoning boll weevils in cotton fields with arsenic. He had watched for the cycles of the moon and listened for the first cricket chirp or call of a dove or owl. Corn should not be planted he once told me till after the last frost after the full moon.
As I scanned my emails and various blog sites one caught my attention and as I do I sorted the data. It was a list of questions, many were teenager sort of questions. First question was do you ever give the peace sign? For me an easy answer, everyday, many times. Then as I looked through the questions over half were materialistic. Most of the rest were can you do this or that? Do you have a MP3 player etc?
I noticed not one question about hearing a tree frog or listening to a cricket. Have you ever heard a loon on a lake n Minnesota or seen the leaves in New Hampshire in the fall? Or have you walked along the trails of North Carolina when the rhododendrons are blooming? It has been a few years since I heard gators bellow. A sound you will never forget. All of my life I have been drawn to nature, listening seeing and trying to understand.
We have become so caught up in what and who we are we lose sight of where we are. When talking with teenagers at school it is more of do you have how many of this popular stores shirts or pants? Who am I to speak, I was wearing looking at alpaca socks yesterday at the feed store of all places. Actually they are really practical in that in winter they are warmer than wool and softer as well so very comfortable. The last pair I had was free however which is a whole other story. I only drink Smart water, perhaps an advertising glitch on my part, but I like its taste however I do get it on sale at Kroger which should count for something. I read on a website of a person who was asking for friends. I read today of another seeking companionship.
I sat longer in the warmth of the morning today listening to the silence and the owl, frog and cricket. It was hard to leave almost relaxing hypnotic as I sat in my chair in the back yard. I thought back to days in my youth where being outside was paramount to a good day. A bad day was one where weather kept us in. Today youth tend to huddle around TV’s and video games, computers and such. I walked through the house yesterday turning off TV’s where no one was sitting. What if is a big lead in to a sentence?
Then the answer to question one on the list hit me. The person answering said no, they never use the peace sign, and that made me think. It was not so much about that person but us as a society in general. We live in a society who accepts the violence we live with. We accept the harm being done to people world wide. Could we do more? Could we stop harm from being done to others? In many cultures the first cricket is a good sign, I would like to hope so. After watching the news this morning however I will still end with please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.