The first thing I hear when I leave work is a battle between a cicada and a mockingbird. I don’t mean the bird’s trying to eat the cicada, although it no doubt would make a tasty treat. Instead, they’re competing for sonic superiority.
Headphones or earbuds will put you right in the middle of this one.
Press the play button to go there.
(If the integrated player doesn’t work, then download the file here.)
The 17-year cicada, with its buzzing drone, bombards my left ear. He has started before any of his brethren have bothered to warm up their tymbals.
The mockingbird, meanwhile, is in my right ear doing just what his name suggests; he spews forth a nonstop flurry of tweets and tweedles in imitation of other feathered wingsters. He holds his head up high and sets his long tail at a confident attitude. Mockingbirds are notoriously defensive of what they perceive as their territory, and have been known to attack people.
“People” being my late grandmother, in her own garden.
The road noise to the right is an Interstate highway with four lanes of traffic moving south and the same headed north. Southbound isn’t as busy because that’s back toward the city.
A couple of co-workers chat each other up, and a few cars rumble to life, ready to carry their owners back to their personal lives.
I try to get directly between the mockingbird and the cicada, but the cicada spooks and clams up. Another bird calls from the trees flanking the nearby railroad tracks.
Every day these sounds tell me I’ve made it through another day of work, and I can get on my way to my family.
In winter, all I get is the highway. Oh, and the family.
Want to read more about cicadas? See the cicada fan page I found when I conducted my obligatory three seconds of research.