June 24, 2003

Journal ~ June 21, 2003

This has been a wonderful day of sun, a respite welcomed on the eve of the summer solstice. A cold front has passed through and carried all the dank wet air so that edges are vibrant-razor-sharp. The greenness is so soothing today under an achingly blue sky. I had almost forgotten.

While the colors were remarkable, it was the sound of this day that made me take notice. Standing at the edge of the creek in the warm sun in the amphitheater formed by our little valley, sound reverberated in layers, bottom to top -- the creek rumbling below, a thousand incessant insects stridulating in the middle, while the northwest wind above played in the treble cleft.

The creeks are risen and clear; most of the water comes from underground. Recent rains have forced cold clear water from deep underground into the swollen stream-- enough water to call it a torrent, and it is raucous, in a hurry. If you could stand at the shore of the ocean and record the breakers, then take out pauses between waves--this is the sound that roars along the valley floor today. Breakers without a break, the bass undertones in this valley full of sound.

The seventeen-year cicadas wax and wane their nasal love songs relentlessly, with an occasional short pause when the singing males all seem to agree to stop together at once, just for a moment. They preen circumspectly before getting back to their seductive songs. I'm certain they expect at any moment a lured lady locust will climb up to their singing perch and make arthropodic whoopie. It must be a most orgasmic event-- to have waited seventeen years for this very moment. I wonder if you listened closely, could you hear the instant of those little whoops when the next generation of earth-sleeping insects is consummated, followed by a satisfied sigh, just days before death?

On top of the ridges the wind becomes visible as a million leaves race just ahead of it, like the standing wave that crowds perform in perfectly timed sequence at football games. Before me, a stadium filled with soft leaves rise in unison along the leading edge of the wind; they sit back down as it passes, only to stand and cheer again and again.

The cool, heavy air today feels full of energy and ozone. It has come here all the way from the tundra, never breathed before, save by a few caribou, and fewer wolves. The sound of wind in summer treetops brings a multitude of boreal voices, a soft rushing whisper devoid of the shrill whine inflicted in December by this wind's winter relatives traveling over Goose Creek though bare branches.

Posted by fred1st at June 24, 2003 05:27 AM | TrackBack

Want a little side wager on how many of us out here wish we had your gift of observation and communication (written and photographic)? Don't over-think it, lest you become timid on us. Let it flow.

Posted by: Cop Car at June 24, 2003 09:20 PM

Some of us in blogdom are better at expressing the negative than we are at the positive.

Which is one of the reasons I envy Fred's ability to find poetry in the chirp of a cricket, the wind rustling through the leaves, the crunch of the snow under the heel of one's boot, while I sit here railing about those crummy socialists. :)

Posted by: CGHill at June 24, 2003 10:00 PM

I liked it. Stop being so critical of yourself!

Posted by: Da Goddess at June 26, 2003 02:31 AM

You know I heard that on NPR driving on RT 81 to Radford from Roanoke, 6 months ago and I hadn't forgot it. I knew I wanted to read more of Floyd Journal but just hadn't taken the time to look it up. Thanks. Refreshing. I need that then, must still need it.

Posted by: Jeannette at January 13, 2004 07:39 PM

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