California Summer Night Soundtrack

Dolbear's Law: 

Number of chirps produced by a snowy tree cricket in 14 seconds



the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit

It dawned on me the other night that the crickets were chirping.  They must have been chirping each night of the summer but I didn't notice until late July.  

Perhaps because it's unseasonably cool {thank you}, lending opportunity to open the upstairs windows at night: rather than hearing the hum of the air conditioner, I've been more keenly aware of the cricket orchestra outside my window.


It takes me back to visiting my Grandparents in Redlands when I was a child, on vacation from Washington.  White metal bed frame, white cotton sheets with a quilt on top, my sister and I talking into the night, and the sound of crickets outside the plantation shuttered window.  

I see myself in that memory and want to say to her, "Isn't it crazy that you will one day call home a place where the crickets chirp?"  She's the same girl who watched eagerly outside her window of the minivan that was the vehicle of many road-trips headed south on I-5.  Her goal was to be the first one to see a palm tree, and I'm pretty sure she started looking for one as soon as Grant's Pass, Medford, and Ashland led the way across the California border.  To her, Palm Trees = California, and she loved both.  

I also remember trying to find the cricket in my dorm room at CSUSB, only to find it, capture it, and another one would be chirping from my closet the next day.  There was an underground cricketeering operation on that campus that surfaced under the canopy of my hung clothes.  One alone sounds shrill and piercing to the ears compared to the chorus of many.  One being a hop's distance from my bed took away from the nocturnal wonderment that occurred from a distance.  To see its antennas and hear the crunch of its body under a swiftly thrown flip-flop makes understandable their desire to stay hidden under foliage, yearning to be heard and not seen except by their own species.  


It is easy to be homesick, it is easy to think that being away from my parents, from my sister and her family, from my school day friends, from the rain, that raising a family in a place different from that which I was raised is not the outcome that I intended when I set out to start the next chapter of my life, college diploma in hand, already 12 years ago.

And yet, hearing the crickets chirp tonight I am reminded that I love it here too.   I feel at home when I see a hot-air balloon in the morning sky.  I know which back roads to take when the freeway slows down with traffic.  I like the small-town feel but big time charm that can be felt in our city's Old Town, especially when the week gives way to the weekend and the day turns to evening. Live music on the corners, chalk artists with their concrete canvas, good food and olive oil and wine all within blocks from each other on Front Street.  I love that Saturday Market never fails to provide an hour's worth of people watching, popcorn eating, produce gazing and flower choosing.  I like that a drive into San Diego always feels like vacation, that a sunset on the beach is only 30 minutes away, and that the prospect of snow-covered cabins are a two hour drive east in the winter. 

I'm proud of this life I've built here in California.  And I think I'll let the chirp of the cricket be my reminder that in this moment, I need not be anywhere else but here, happily.  Happily, Me.  

 © Houseman 2013