December 14, 2013


Judy Light Ayyildiz

FROM MY ROOM IN ISTANBUL, I LONGED FOR MY BALCONY IN THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS OF VIRGINIA. It was then, through the Internet that connects the world, I received an email with a link that informed me how a man, an experimental director and playwright, had recorded his yard’s crickets, then lowered the pitch and stretched out their chorus of sound as much as one would have to stretch the life of a cricket to equal that of the average human being (just over an hour). To my poet’s brain, that maneuver appeared quite technically advanced—and I wondered why no one has ever done that with bugs before. We could learn a lot. Take a listen:

The resulting sound was nothing short of amazing. How could we have imagined that the static whir we hear in the summer evenings is in fact an ethereal choir; the recording reminding us of heaven’s angels always on pitch and pure as Saint Michael’s breath. It was as if they were repeating the classical hymnal chord progression of I, IV, V, I, interlaced with the well-known “amen” cadence. There was also an eerie operatic soprano embellishment around the upper edges of the orchestrated voices of the insects. Who among us that ever sat fascinated by the country evenings’ familiar whir would doubt that the sound held so much more if we could only open our ears to be able to hear it?

Of course, the comments on the Internet became crazed about God’s world in perfect harmony, and who would have guessed all this from the humble grass around the average house? But I asked myself, why would a perfectly fine chorus of crickets be made better by sounding like a well-trained human choir? Do crickets have vocal chords that mimic a diva? Does a world in unison have to be I, IV, V, I? And do crickets even say Ah…men?

I usually go to sleep in Virginia long before my yard-crickets do, and the blessing is that they massage my tired limbs and ears with their continuous scrapes that sound like…well, crickets, static of the night, my rest from trying to make sense of society’s babble.

Then comes another comment on the Internet post. I think: Oh folks, stop it! But this is another original, a CD preview posted on You Tube, the crickets, along with Robbie Robertson and a soprano. I clicked on it, and there it was: Native American-inspired sounds, creatively mixed, equally angelic. Here they are:

So many flurries over this. Why? Seems people need to justify Heaven in the stickweed bug found already there in the grass. One hell of a marketing ploy for a new CD. I’ll have to say amen to that.

Judy Light Ayyildiz is a longtime educator, teacher of creative writing courses for young and old, and the author of 10 books, including her latest novel, Forty Thorns, a tale about the rise of modern Turkey and a very special heroine who lives through the country’s evolution and tumult. Learn more about Judy’s work at her website:

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