Background Music: Crickets

Growing up in Vancouver, B.C., I don't remember the chirp of crickets at night in summer, though I guess I would have known Jiminy Cricket, aka il grillo parlante. My first real encounter with crickets was as "grillons" in southern France. Living in Marseille and the Vaucluse, as we did for seven years, we heard them sing all summer long and occasionally we'd find one inside in winter, and feel lucky (roped in by Dickens and Disney and other local lore): a cricket on the hearth. 

Each night before I go to bed, here in the Bay Area, I hear the crickets, interrupted now and then by a plane flying over, the train whistling at the level passages at 30-minute intervals, a late bicycle whooshing past, a jogger, and I conjure up a long line of people in condos and cabins and caves in the August dark listening to crickets chirping.

                                                                  On a piece of  bark

                                                             drifting down the river

                                                                   a cricket, singing.