Friday, June 29, 2012

This is the second Friday of summer, the first full week of summer coming to a close. June 29, 2012 is the day of the cricket. 84 days of summer remain.


It's a singing life for a male cricket, at least for this generation
of male crickets. He must know the calling song, a song that pulls the
heartstrings of female crickets. When he finds her, he sings a
courtship song to woo her. If his song woos, he sings briefly a lucky
song. To male crickets who annoy him, he must sing an aggression song.
In Hawaii, a population of male crickets have lost the songs. Tachina
flies learned to find male crickets by their song. A Tachina fly lays
eggs on a cricket, and those eggs hatch and unleash an army of larvae
to bore into the cricket's body. Thanks to a mutation, no song, no
eggs and no munching freeloaders spoil life for the silent crickets.

Late March, the peepers raised an awesome and wild chorus in the marsh
of Hidden Cove. I thought of the wilds of Africa every time the chorus
peaked in volume, a savage sound raised by countless frogs. So far
this summer, the crickets have raised a less fervent song. We have
enjoyed balmy, warm days and cool nights. Thursday, the temperature in
Muskegon hit 88 degrees Fahrenheit, fourteen degrees lower than
Detroit's 102 degrees. Yet, by dark, around Ten in the evening, the
night air had cooled and I heard slow chirping from my open window. I
slept in a tee shirt and shorts, window open, leaving the air
conditioning off. I had a hard time hearing the soft chirping because
my neighbor's air conditioner rumbled in the low frequency range.

This morning, starting off at 7:11 AM, I biked in the cool air towards
work, taking thirty minutes for the six mile route. I think it takes
me fifteen to twenty minutes by car, waiting at traffic lights and
other delays imposed by the conventions of traffic. I pass the same
people at about the same place and time. A serious speed walker and I
pass on Randall Road near the Mona Lake Boat Club. A woman who has the
awkward poise that comes with rheumatoid arthritis jogs toward me near
the corner of Henry and Randall, her motion one quarter side to side
and three quarters forward. She has a smile she maintains on her face
as she clasps a Sony Discman in her right hand. She has inspired me
for two weeks now, happy to see her "Just Doing It" long into the
progression of the disease, which I have had diagnosed this year. I
give a young woman a thumbs up, earbuds in her ear, and she smiles,
running up the hill on the south end of the Henry Street Bridge over
Mona Lake.

I had three hills I have walked up with my bike. Now, only one of
those hills stops me. I wish the popping in my left knee would stop


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