Monday, October 5, 2015

Cricket on the Hearth

Have you ever awaken to repeated sounds of "chirp, chrip?" Somewhere is your home a cricket has sought refuge from the dropping temperatures of oncoming winter. Their lair is difficult to locate, but the constant sound will keep you awake for many hours.
It's difficult to tell the shiny black House (Acheta domestica) from a Field cricket. The house cricket is an immigrant, introduced to the Americas from Europe. The field cricket is native born. Most crickets are nocturnal, but the house cricket will sing at any time the mood strikes them. They both live outdoors in warm weather and can frequently be found in garbage dumps. They lay their eggs in the ground during the summer to hatch the following spring.
Their addiction to warm temperatures begins their fall migration indoors where they announce their presence with a cheerful sound. The incessant chirping, which is produced by rubbing their wings together like grasshoppers may at first be greeted with pleasure, but after a day or so becomes a nuisance. The sound of the house cricket is faster than that of a field cricket and will increase or decrease in volume depending on the temperature.
What to do when your patience wears thin listening to the repetitive sound is a major dilemma and depends on where your superstition level lies.
Throughout history the cricket has been revered or disdained according to popular culture. In China and the Far East they are a sign of intelligence and good fortune. They are caught or raised and then sold in small bamboo cages for children to admire and keep as pets. They herald the coming of money and to kill one is misfortune.
The American Indians are divided, Eastern tribes consider them good fortune while some Western tribes consider them an ill omen.
Crickets are a source of food in some cultures and many a fisherman has used them as bait with good success. Money coming is a persistent belief when a cricket sings in your home.
Appalachian lore holds that if you kill a cricket its relatives will invade your house and eat your socks. We don't need crickets for that, the washer and dryer do a fine job of making socks disappear.
Take you pick, but for sure the chirp of a cricket in your home is another harbinger that winter is on its way.
Nash Black adopted and designed a logo for a roadside diner where their characters meet for meals and to tell stories, though they spell it The Kricket. See Haints for their award nominated collection of ghost stories.

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