I was putting some porcelain bowls away the other day and happened to clink two of them together, making an almost ringing “bing.” I’d been thinking for weeks about crickets who, like the cicadas, have been singing persistently most evenings. I’d been thinking of a way to describe the song of the crickets and had found it distressingly difficult. Until I clinked the porcelain bowls together.
The male cricket makes his bright, chirping sound by scraping his wing covers together; there’s apparently a toothed ridge on the underside of his wing covers that causes the cricket song’s drawn-out, ringing chirp … kind of like the sound of dragging your fingernail down the teeth of a hard plastic, or better, metal comb. Though I’ve never touched the underside of a cricket’s wing covers, I know the cricket’s exoskeleton and legs have the consistency of over-baked chicken, but more fragile. Which is why I can’t imagine how cricket flesh has the resonant qualities of kiln-fired clay. And such a loud, ringing sound, too. Like it’s amplified, the singing exploding with electricity.