BIG frost on oak-001

Leaves under the Japanese maple in my yarden


It has always been my way since I was a teenager in my parent’s home, to open the blinds to let the morning light into the room. For most of my adult life however, I have lived at ground level with sliding glass doors to a deck surrounded by woods, trees, shrubs, field and bodies of water at the far edges of greenery. My firs awakening step during these years has been to slide the glass door open to greet the morning and listen to the sounds of nature…the symphony of winds, birds and creatures, and the faraway hint of the sea. This morning ritual has always been like a wordless prayer of attention, a grounding that reminds me of my creatureliness and connection to the world of nature, being OF it, not above or outside of it. Nature is musical and it does have a repertoire of sounds and songs each season.

Early spring? Open the sliding glass door and there is an occasional solitary birdsong that has not been heard for many months of winter. But then, suddenly …PEEPERS somewhere off in hidden bodies of water in and around civilization, whatever that is for us where we are. Have we ever actually seen Peepers? Not usually, but they are THE music of early spring into pre-summer.

Summer? Where I have always lived in the Northeast, on the coast but surrounded by trees, shrubs and greenery the natural symphony is alive, vibrant and Fortissimo especially all through the night…birds of all kinds of feather, bullfrogs, tree frogs, buzzing insects like cicadas and especially the hard to describe incessant chorus of CRICKETS.  There have been nights when I have stood for an hour or more after midnight in the dark by an open window facing the woods with the overhanging canopy of trees forming an umbrella of green over my house..just to listen to the wild but celebratory symphony of our New England rainforest..expecting at any one moment to hear the cry of a jaguar as well.

In the mornings of summer into early fall, the sliding deck door get opened and there UNFAILINGLY is the ever-present low to the ground choir of crickets..a presence you can count on just as surely as the rising sun of morning. All is alive and fertile and in movement and so are we in spirit and in habits of summer play, socializing and travel.

But what are the seasons but the Turning of the Great Wheel. The summer’s heat begins to cool and give way to brisk nights and chilly mornings. We open the sliding glass door to the deck and woods and there is a thinning of the chorus..and with each night and early morning tinged with a chill, the symphony turns into a chorus, the chorus turns into a quintet, a quartet, a trio..spread out wide…of cricket song.

And then one morning, sometime in November, upon awakening and peering out beyond the glass of the sliding glass doors, we are greeted by a sparkle and coating of  crystals upon all branches, dried stalks and fallen leaves. We slide the door open gently and the silence is almost louder than the wild rainforest of summer. The silence is stunning and non-negotiable…everything, EVERYTHING is still and birdsong in the grey, no crickets..not even one solitary voice…a powerful silent call to pulling in for reflect on all that has happened during the busy times, for hearth and home whether that means going back into and under the earth, or to tend the fires of the woodstove in your cottage .

The morning when the crickets go silent is a personal holy day for me. Its date on the calendar is not fixed and I always know it is coming,  yet it always catches me by surprise when that morning arrives..the beauty of that first hard crystalline frost with the inevitable bittersweet  accompaniment of the Great Silence, the time to dive deep under the covers of leaves or blanket to sleep and dream into the next turn of the wheel.

The morning when the crickets go silent.


From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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