Methinks thou dost chirpeth too much
In the above title, the “chirping” referred to is not that of a bird. That reassuring sound, just before sunrise, is just as constantly positive a symbol as that of God’s “bow” in the heavens. The rainbow rules out one means of the earth’s future demise, and chirping birds herald the beginning of a new day.
The “chirping” of which I speak is an unnerving sound which has the potential for generating insomnia and madness. In Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart,” it was the sight of the old man’s film-covered blue eye (a cataract?) which drove the protagonist insane. The chirping sound of which I speak illustrates an alternate route to insanity by way of the ear, and it is generated by the unceasing sound of a cricket within the home, or someplace just outside. I sometimes think that the “long dark night of the soul” may not be terrifying in nature, but instead, some nagging “thing” which just gets on one’s nerves.
Lying there , unable to sleep, because of a vociferous cricket, I am thinking of quotes from movies and books which seem appropriate for these wee hours of insect inspired insomnia. (And for some reason, as evidenced by this triple “i” alliteration, the late Vice President Agnew must be in my thoughts as well.)
“Late last night, and the night before …”
That noise of insect origin started up in the wee hours last night, sounding as if it came from just outside my front door on my porch. It ceased at dawn, and has reappeared late tonight. When I open the door and switch on the light, the sound ceases. When I switch the light off and close the door, the sound begins again. If I repeat this, and the cricket decides to come in, then instead of making metaphysical inquiries about the “night’s Plutonian shore,” I will rudely stomp the little bugger.
At least there was a method to the madness of the Raven and the “Tommy Knockers,” in that both were trying to gain entry (although not just to visit). I don’t know whether or not this particular cricket is nocturnal or just has its days and nights reversed (the last time my days and nights were mixed up was at Appalachian in the early 1970s), so I’m starting to wonder that if I open the windows early tomorrow morning and play Wagner or Steppenwolf as loud as the speakers will go (how else to play both?), it might disturb the cricket’s diurnal slumber and put it back on my schedule, with the only drawback being a neighbor-inspired visit from the police.
“I don’t think we’re dealing with an ordinary mouse!”
This brings back memories of one night in my Yanceyville home when cricket noise was emanating from an electric wall heater. In a variation of the movie “Mouse Hunt,” I went on my own “cricket hunt,” disassembling the wall heater with a screw driver (after having, of course, flipped the appropriately marked switch in the fuse box to the “off” position). When the wall heater was in pieces, the sound stopped, and I saw and heard nothing (a bit like Sergeant Schulz), but only temporarily, because upon my reassembling the unit, the “chirping” began again! I then thought about the anatomist saying that in his dissections of the human body, he has never located the soul, but by the very nature of dissection, when the anatomist’s work is fit to begin, the soul has already left the body.
“Sometimes they come back!”
My porch juts out over a WPA- built granite block wall surrounding Danville’s Old Grove Street Cemetery, in use from 1830-1920. This cricket has started me thinking about reincarnation, along with “unfinished business,” and if that cricket has managed to make an over-10-foot leap up onto the porch from the graveyard below, then maybe it is powered by some form of evil which has been “fermenting” there for quite some time.
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
You know, judging just from the sound that’s making its way through both the storm door and my front door proper, this must be the “Great White” of cricketdom!
“Feed me, Seymour!”
I grow a wide assortment of carnivorous plants which I set out during the warmer months of the years in order for them to “feast.” I do not feel sorry for hoping that this cricket will make a misstep (or rather, “misshop”) and wind up in the jaws of a venus flytrap, the tube-like leaf of a pitcher plant, or in the sticky goo of a sundew’s tentacles.
“Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”
In using this quote, I’m not making some demeaning comparison between a priest and a cricket. The “troublesome priest” to whom King Henry II referred was Thomas Becket, and during this cricket-generated insomnia, I’m beginning to have murderous thoughts involving the similarities between the word “Becket” and the word “cricket.”
(sound of hundreds of metallic cricket clickers being “clicked”)
Sergeant: “The crickets have been distributed Sir!”
Lieutenant Colonel: “So I heard!” “At ease! Well, you are as ready as we can make you! This 5 cent toy wasn’t issued to you for laughs. It may save your life! You’re going to be landing in the dark, and on the other side of that hedgerow, the fella might not be wearing the same uniform you are, so one click (click), is to be answered by 2 clicks (click, click); and if you don’t get that answering click, hit the dirt and open fire!
This is starting to turn into “The Longest Night!” Just now, I hear gunshots over on the next street and am wondering if an errant bullet just might have that cricket’s name on it.
“There’s no way of knowing just which way we’re going.”
“Is it raining, is it pouring, is a hurricane a blowing?”
I wish to Wonka that I knew just how long this cricket can keep this up. Maybe I need to reference “cricket lifespan” on the internet.
“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Though he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart”
That’s it! Perhaps a roving spider will come along on its nighttime hunt! Although I don’t particularly care for spiders, maybe even one as big as the one out in the desert in that old 1950s science-fiction horror movie will show up, wrap this cricket in webbing, and save it for a rainy day meal (a la Stephen King’s “It”), but I guess a spider of that size would be overkill!
And the cricket still is chirping, chirping, just outside my front porch door.
And now, I think that rasping racket, upon my soul, and via my ears, will surely grate, forevermore.
Emmy Terheun was drafted into Adolf Hitler’s labor force, called the Arbeitsdienst, at 17. Almost all young men and women... read more