Blog: Finding My Voice

A Cricket on the Hearth

Posted on September 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM


Yesterday I performed one of the tasks that I always postpone as long as possible...bringing in the plants. Every year my house plants go on a mini-vacation in the backyard and spend the long, hot days of summer nestled under trees and bushes, flourishing in the humidity and brightening my patio. It is a vacation for me as well, because I am freed from the task of watering...unless the weather doesn’t cooperate. The house always looks empty without the houseplants, but I soon become accustomed to the uncluttered look of my home and, since I spend many hours outdoors, I get to enjoy seeing my plants in a different setting.

      As most gardeners know, the rule of thumb is to bring houseplants back inside one month before you turn the heat on. In Kentucky, this usually means late September/early October. Before the plants can come back into the house, they must be sprayed to remove insects that may have taken up residence in the dirt or leaves, dirt must be removed from the sides and bottoms of pots, dead or ragged leaves must be removed, and if necessary, plants must be repotted. The process takes several hours and then the hardwork begins of carrying many heavy pots into the house and finding the perfect location for them.  All went well yesterday and the majority of my plants are inside, although some are in temporary locations. Every year I rearrange the plants like furniture since some have died, some have increased in size, and I always acquire a few new ones that I couldn’t resist while perusing the aisles at local garden stores.


      This morning when I woke up I heard a familiar sound in the living room - a cricket on the hearth. Its chirping was incessant. I assume that it was overlooked in one of the plants that I carried into the house yesterday. It reminds of the days when Napolean our chameleon was still alive and the crickets we purchased as food for him would seranade me. The chirping crickets would remind me of the long summer nights shared with my family, lightning bugs, and cicadas. The songs of the caged crickets were always bittersweet to hear because I knew that their days were numbered.

     Most common male crickets have four calling songs. The one I heard early this morning, and continue to hear, is a loud calling song to attract females. Crickets also have a courtship song, a mating song, and a fighting chirp. Depending upon where you live and what you believe, a cricket on the hearth is considered to be a portent of what is to come. Some people claim it foreshadows death, while others believe having a cricket in your home is the luckiest thing in the world. In some South American countries, it is a sign of impending rain or, depending upon the color of the cricket, illness, money or pregnancy. In China, crickets are considered lucky and kept in cages.

     My resident cricket has a loud chirp. I can hear his song in every room of the house. A loud song is a sign of good things to come. I will wait to see what this day brings.

When the moon shall have faded out from the sky, and the sun shall shine at noonday a dull cherry red, and the seas shall be frozen over, and the icecap shall have crept downward to the equator from either pole . . . when all the cities shall have long been dead and crumbled into dust, and all life shall be on the last verge of extinction on this globe; then, on a bit of lichen, growing on the bald rocks beside the eternal snows of Panama, shall be seated a tiny insect, preening its antennae in the glow of the worn-out sun, the sole survivor of animal life on this our earth.~ William Jacob Holland


Categories: MUSINGS

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