Everything but hurricanes, typhoons or gentle ocean breezes, that pretty much sums up the weather here in the Midwest. We get to enjoy the full breadth of everything Mother Nature can throw our way across the complete range of the four seasons.
Four seasons… and three out of four are pretty darn sweet.
Winter sucks ice balls!
I could go on and on about winter’s, so cold it hurts, sloppy, sliding, fall on your butt, then freeze it off, kind of weather but that’s not really the point of this blog post. This is to celebrate those crazy jazz musicians that live up in the trees for those wonderful three out of four seasons.
We live in an old neighborhood, our house was built in 1890. To say we have plenty of trees would be a big understatement. Those trees provide shelter for the wonderful critters that provide us with a nighttime serenade from spring through fall. I like to think of them as eccentric jazz musicians.
The crickets are the rhythm section, they lay down the beat for everyone else to follow. Crickets are so dependable in their rhythm that you can use their chirps to calculate the temperature. To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 14 seconds, then add 40 to get the temperature. Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70 degrees Fahrenheit. OK, that’s way too much math for this blogger. (Did you know there are three kinds of bloggers in the world, those who understand math and those who don’t?)
Tree frogs are the bass players in this jazz quartet. Though not near as deep sounding as their bullfrog cousins, the tree frogs add a wonderful layer of rich undertones to the treetop symphony. They take their work seriously, bobbing their heads as they thump out the chords of their modal jazz interpretations.
A contradiction in their existence, katydids are both shy and bold at the same time. Shy because they clothe themselves to mimic the leaves they inhabit and eat, but bold in their rhythms. Katydids put down some serious beats, drowning out the crickets and demanding, hey don’t look at me but listen to my tunes.
These guys are my favorites. Googly eyed with thick lenses and bright-colored jackets, they are the true bebop specialists of this critter jazz ensemble. They don’t care about the rhythms that anyone else is laying down. When they are ready, they just let loose and give it everything they have across as many octaves as they can cover.
Now truth be told, the rhythms that we enjoy from these crazy treetop musicians are not for our benefit. Like most young men that pick up a guitar, trumpet or upright bass, the music is great, but attracting a good-looking member of the opposite sex is an expected benefit, and that’s OK.
Winter is coming here in the Midwest, the leaves are dropping along with the temperatures and the band is starting to fall silent. Before long the spectrum of colors we have enjoyed during the previous three seasons will be reduced to shades of grey and brown. But the music will have done its magic. The musicians that have laid down the best beats will have also laid down with their cricket, tree frog, katydid and cicada groupies, ensuring that next spring a new generation of crazy treetop musicians will once again provide us with a wonderful nighttime symphony.