“When the cricket’s song is the only song you hear, how peaceful the whole earth seems.”–Marty Rubin
My face masks were washed from the previous week of work. The sun had already kissed the horizon’s forehead before slipping away into the dusk, but it was not yet full dark. I headed towards the garage of our home with the clean masks in hand in order to stow them away with the others in a large ziplock baggie I keep in my car. Stepping down onto the concrete pad, I was struck by the singing of a lone, unseen cricket.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .” sang the hidden insect.
It seems as if it is a rite of seasonal passage for one cricket to find itself trapped in our garage. Even as a child, I seem to recall a single cricket trapped in my family’s garage, and later, the laundry room. In fact, I can once recall sitting on the step to the laundry room during a summer stay at home from college, listening to a lone cricket chirp its tune of summer’s end, and feeling both the mix of anticipation and sadness at the changing of seasons within my own life.
Later in the week, having temporarily forgotten the guest residence of the cricket in our garage, my husband, John, and I exited out of our car after a dinner out, and we were greeted by the sound of our guest once more.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .” our guest continued its mournful solo concert.
Even as I closed the garage door and turned off the light, I could still hear its song of summer’s end continuing despite no longer having an audience.
Early the next morning, I walked out to the garage to once more stow away another item into the car. The sun had not yet made its morning ascent, and the garage was filled with shadows and predawn edginess. As I reached for the garage door handle, I paused. The cricket was still singing its melancholic song. I had to wonder at the miracle of this creature’s voice and sense of perseverance. How could it continue to sing throughout the night–even if no one was there to appreciate it’s fine farewell chirrupings?
Entering the garage, its piping paused momentarily. Then when no harm came its way, its singing resumed full strength as I made my way to the car with my belongings. Returning to the house, its trilling continued even as I shut the garage door.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .”
“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever.”–E.B. White
The cricket’s reminder that change is coming. Summer’s warmth will soon be passing. Leaves will soon slip the bondages of tree limbs, grasses will fade, and wintry winds will whir their chilly thoughts soon enough. Silky time slips slowly through a faucet of seasons, drip by drip, slowly weathering away the husks of our bodies like water gradually wearing down a rock, eventually returning it to the dust of our Creator.
Shortened days and longer nights,
Football and band songs
Sweaters and caps,
Bonfires and marshmallows
Amber and red swirl over
A ribbon of black
Soon the first kiss of frost.
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .
It’s been a week since the unseen cricket took up residence in the collections that fill the garage. Since then another loved one has left the earth; perhaps he sings for him.
Life is short
Life is sweet
Love is a river of time
Filled and flowing
With the rhythm of
Seasonal rains and
Periods of drought
Through, over, and around
Ultimately, returning to the Source
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .”
The cricket bids you adieu, my friend.
Dusk has slipped into night
Your tortured time
Filled with shouts of pain
Has ceased into a timeless song of peace
Your imprint abides
Through students and players
O’er fields of dreams and
Work sites unseen
Through sons and grandchildren
And even four greats
Your legacy endures
May your hands be still at last
“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye . . .” trills the cricket once more.