I was awake at 2 am the other night, lying in bed, listening to the crickets. I think of their sound as circular. When I listen to it, I see the pattern of a heavy object being swung in circles at the end of a rope or the movement of the wheels of a train. It’s a steady rhythm, but not quite even.
When I am awake at 2 am in the winter instead of crickets I hear the yellow-legged frogs in the ponds. They make a different sound than the crickets as they sing their mating choruses, and yet it carries a very similar rhythm. Steady and circular, but not quite even.
Almost 20 years ago, my husband and I spent 8 weeks travelling in Guatemala. During that time we made the journey to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal. The ruins of Tikal are fascinating, but what I remember most now is the jungle there. The light filtering through the trees. Hearing, and sometimes seeing, the bands of monkeys up in the tree canopy. The colorful turkeys that hung around in the campground adjacent to the ruins. And the jungle crickets. (I’m guessing that cricket is the right name, as opposed to cicada or similar.)
Our first day at Tikal, we had set up our tent and then gone to hang out among the stone buildings. As dusk approached, we put off returning to the campground until it was almost too dark to see. As I recall, the path from the ruins to the campground was about half a mile long through the jungle, so what little light we had in the open was much diminished as we set off on the trail back to camp. As we were stepping onto the jungle path, the crickets started their – what should I call it? Their song? Their rhythm? Their sound frequency?
Coming from all around us and louder, much louder, than any crickets I have ever heard elsewhere, this sound, this rhythm moved into me and through me as I moved through it. As with the crickets here in the Sierra foothills, the sound was circular and rhythmic and uneven, but with an intensity that penetrated to the core of every cell in my body. It felt energizing. Expanding.
I wonder now, still, about these night rhythms. Whether crickets or frogs or other creatures, Nature fills the night with a rhythm of sound throughout the year and in many (most?) parts of the world. It may be rare for them to have the intensity of Tikal’s nights, but I think these nighttime frequencies must fill some purpose within the bodymind of Earth. Like the electromagnetic signals of our beating hearts communicating to the cells of our bodies, it seems these night rhythms must be a source of information, a means of achieving resonance among the “cells” of an ecosystem.
Night becomes a time to relax and tune in and allow my cells and myself to get in sync.