I know it just hasn’t been my area with unusual weather this summer.  I felt saddened to see my favourite month come to an end while I was still thinking, “Where’s summer?”.  I usually dread turning over that page on the calendar to August, as it seems to fly by even faster than July.  I am almost giddy that the past two weeks have finally felt like summer – whew!  August always seems a little bittersweet to me, but even more so this year with our late arrival of summer weather.  As I listened to the crickets sing last night, I felt out of sync – “Hold on, I am just getting into summer here…”  :).  As much as I enjoy their ringing in the month of August in my area, I felt a little like Fern and friends in E.B White’s Charlotte’s Web:

The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad, monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone,” they sang. “Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year–the days when summer is changing into fall–the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.  Everybody heard the song of the crickets. Avery and Fern Arable heard it as they walked the dusty road. They knew that school would soon begin again. The young geese heard it and knew that they would never be little goslings again. (Ch. 15, The Crickets)

And like a tradition, the discussion ensued in our family about the how and why crickets chirp in late summer.  I always appreciate the refresher course and the reminder about the little things that we can easily not think too much about literally chirping under our noses.  I found myself checking online sources to make sure I was still correct about the cricket’s song.  So, I thought I would share my learning, as what’s a blog for? 🙂 Good old Wikipedia settles the debate… wings, not legs:

“The chirping sound is created by running the top of one wing along the teeth at the bottom of the other wing. As he does this, the cricket also holds the wings up and open, so that the wing membranes can act as acoustical sails. It is a popular myth that the cricket chirps by rubbing its legs together.”

And if you ever wondered why the song can change, well that is cleared up as well:

“There are four types of cricket song: The calling song attracts females and repels other males, and is fairly loud. The courting song is used when a female cricket is near, and is a very quiet song. An aggressive song is triggered by chemoreceptors on the antennae that detect the near presence of another male cricket and a copulatory song is produced for a brief period after a successful mating.”

I hope that is not more than anyone needed to know 🙂

And if you want to see and hear up close for yourself, there is always youtube:

Enjoy the rest of the sounds of summer!  Feel free to share your favourite!

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