Sunday, August 16, 2009

Night Song, North Carolina

Seventy two degrees.
An air conditioning unit kicks off and I can finally hear the night calls clearly.
Insects I can't see and can't identify.
The night song is truly an orchestrated cacophany.
It takes real concentration to separate the individual songs.

Various forms of crickets sing:
One group in rapid, high-pitched chirps: 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
Others sing one long trilly sustain without pause
While another crickety thing sings a glassy trill at the beginning of each measure: 1-x-x-x 1-x-x-x

Something bigger, percussive, like castinets, or a muted snare: ta-ta-ta-ta - 3-4 ta-ta-ta-ta - 3-4
Answered quickly by the same critter in call & response fashion: 1-2 ta-ta-ta-ta 1-2 ta-ta-ta-ta

Together, they play continuously:

ta-ta-ta-ta ta-ta-ta-ta
ta-ta-ta-ta ta-ta-ta-ta
cr- cr- cr- cr cr- cr- cr- cr- cr- cr- cr- cr cr- cr- cr- cr

And so many more parts, layer upon layer.
No conductor, no stage, no footlights burn
And yet this orchestra plays nightly
Wherever it is summer, wherever it is warm
No reservations needed
And yet, the appreciative audience so often a crowd of one?

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