A Lesson in Rhythm

I wake up this morning at 3 a.m. because sleeping is not my superpower. Cool air circulates through the room, driven by the fan in the window. I hear crickets far out in the yard, chirping in unison, like a choir, and one lone cricket chirping just outside the window, somewhere in the bee balm, singing an aria just for me. Chirp, chirp, chirp, pause. Chirp, chirp, chirp, pause.

Content like a baby whose just been fed, I roll over onto my right side and find the perfect position – my arms wrapped about me like a hug. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and concentrate on the cricket’s calming, synchronous…

Chirp, chirp, pause, chirp. Chirp, pause, pause, chirp, chirp. Chirp, pause, chirp, chirp, pause. Chirp, pause, chirp, chirp.

What the…? Who does that cricket think it is? John Coltrane? Miles Davis? Dave Brubeck?

Anger, disproportionate in scope as all feelings are at 3 a.m., sweeps through me, and I throw back the covers, drop my feet to the floor, stomp over to the window, and slam it shut.

That’ll show ‘em!

My hands fumble around the nightstand for the remote to turn on the air conditioner and I think how that’s probably more detrimental to Earth than snuffing a cricket, but at 3 a.m. (or any time, really), I’m not going to kill a cricket.

Back in bed, I blame the cricket and its discordant song for keeping me awake, for the arthritis in my ring finger, for the price of gas, for war, famine, pestilence, and death.

Yikes! That’s a lot of responsibility to put on a little cricket! And I remember that the “what ifs,” “whys,” “how comes” and “wish things were different” bore down hard this weekend and I did nothing to counter them except to indulge and wallow, which seem to have become my superpowers this year.

I crave a life in simple meter: 2/2, 4/4, or even 3/4. Only, my life hasn’t and probably never will be a waltz or polka. No one’s is, really. At least not all the time. Life is often more like the complicated 9/8 metering in Sting’s song, “I Hung My Head.” (This article, “Metering ‘I Hung My Head,’” is quite interesting.) You can tap your foot to it, but you have to pay attention for the “extra” beat, the hiccup, just like you have to with life’s rhythm, I guess.

It’s now 4 a.m. and I realize that craving a life without “what ifs” and “how comes” just makes me angry at a cricket for being a cricket.

I will get up and write this down so I don’t forget this lesson, but I know I will forget. I always do. And some other cricket will come along and piss me off and I’ll start the lesson all over again.

I will leave the fan on, keep the shades closed, and my bed unmade because once I post a blog about the cricket, I will crawl back in and meditate and, hopefully, fall asleep for an hour or two. That is, if I can get “I Hung My Head,” which is now an earworm, out of my head.

7 thoughts on “A Lesson in Rhythm

    1. Thank you for the article you wrote. I Hung My Head is one of my favorite songs, mostly because of how complicated it is.

  1. Next time, consider this: If you count the number of chirps by the cricket in 14 seconds and add 40, you will have the approximate Fahrenheit temperature outside. Thank me later.

    1. I’ll remember that the next time a cricket irritates the shit of me at the same time I’m wondering what the temperature is outside. Can you hear my eyes rolling into the back of my head??? Still, I love you.

  2. Glad you didn’t squash the cricket – it could have been Dave Brubeck’s reincarnated as a bug LOL I love “Take Five”, but when I first heard “Rondo a La Turk” I thought I’d tear my hair out. Why couldn’t he pick a meter and stick with it?!? Now it’s one of my favorites. I just needed to learn how to listen to it (and not try to tap my foot to it…) I’m not familiar with that Sting song, though, so will give it a spin as well – thanks for the share!

    1. Take Five is a great album/song, I agree. I admit I’ve only skimmed over Rondo… I’ll give it a closer listen. Maybe even years ago I thought it was a cricket!

  3. I miss the sound of crickets. I grew up in the country, and in the city where I live, I rarely hear them. But I can relate to the sounds of nature keeping me awake. It’s often the crows around here.

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