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THE SOUND OF CRICKETS

Last night, I thought I was going to lose my mind.

I was trying to get to sleep and it was late - or early - depending on how you look at it.

1:09 a.m.

All I could hear was the sound of crickets. Two crickets, I think. They seemed to be terribly close … and were quite loud.

Were they inside my bedroom with me? It sure seemed like it. Were they in my bed even? They were definitely too close for comfort.

On top of that, it felt like they were either engaged in a duet … or a debate.

“CHIRP!” “chirp!” “CHIRP!” “chirp!” “CHIRP!” “chirp!”

It was as if I had two giant crickets in the room and they were discussing the latest installment of “Planet Earth.” To make matters worse, this singing duo had a chorus of relatives and cicadas providing backup vocals amid the darkness and inhumane humidity outside.

Once my irritation turned to frustration, I jumped out of bed and basically tore my room apart looking for the culprits.

Needless to say, that’s when the room went dead silent. Crickets know exactly what they’re doing. They know when to chirp and they also know when to shut up for fear of being found out.

After turning up nothing, I got back into bed and reminded myself that there’s absolutely nothing unusual about crickets and cicadas chirping for dear life in mid-August. In fact, if they weren’t, we’d think that something was very wrong. With that realization, I fell asleep.

Upon waking this morning, I thought about those crickets again and suddenly, something crossed my mind which made me leap out of bed and take to my keyboard here with you.

I realized that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those crickets. When crickets chirp, they’re doing exactly what God put them on this earth to do. They’re chirping for their cause … whether that cause is mating or sending out warning signals or whatever.

Last night, I was the one with the problem, not the crickets. They were annoying me because they were loud and I was trying to sleep.

But here’s the thing ...

We can learn an important lesson from crickets. Every single night, crickets exercise their “freedom of speech,” if you will. The male crickets are “free” to chirp and they chirp ... presumably until they get what they want.

Crickets chirp because chirping is what crickets do.

On the other hand, we as Americans enjoy freedom of expression and speech and you can barely hear a word out of us. Our cellphones are literally our pacifiers.

Are we not living during a time when freedom of speech feels more like a conspiracy of silence? With all the crap that’s going down in our world right now, shouldn’t we all be chirping up?

I’ve never seen – nor heard – everyday Americans being more silent than we are right now. In fact, our silence in the face of some remarkable atrocities has never been more deafening.

What’s going on? Are we blind or are we looking the other way? Has our silence become the new normal?

Currently, the press is doing some of the most outstanding journalism since Watergate and I’m afraid to say that I believe it’s falling on deaf ears. Have we become so numb to information that we no longer hear it?

We keep hearing about one thing after another after another after another. Wouldn’t you think that at this point, we’d all be so outraged that we’d take to the streets armed with megaphones in our hands?

With every new scandal, I keep expecting to hear us finally speak up and speak out.

But all I’m hearing is the sound of crickets.

What was that? Did you say something?

No? Sorry.

Never in human history have we had a greater ability to speak out about what really matters and affects all of us. And yet, nothing seems to be moving us. I guess we’ve got other priorities … like TV shows to watch.

I mean, I sort of like the Kardashians too, but I don’t think the Kardashians come anywhere close to being as important as American freedom. Surely Kim herself would agree to that.

Are we watching too much reality TV without the slightest concern about things crumbling around us?

Do we even care about what’s going on? Believe me, I see and chat with a bunch of folks each day and no one seems to even want to talk about what’s happening.

You don’t have to be a news geek to know that something is terribly wrong.

Are we ever going to talk about it? I guess not because – as you know – if we talk about it, that means we’d actually have to DO something about the problems.

These days, it’s so much easier to shut the blinds, turn off the lights and pretend that we’re keeping the world at bay … until we reach the point of no return … at which point it’ll be too late.

We still have yet to learn that for everything there is a season.

Freedom of speech seems to be going the way of the dinosaur because people are too afraid to speak up and speak out.

We can blame this guy or that guy all we want, but the fact remains that WE are still the ones with the real power. We just need to pipe up. However, nobody wants to risk anything … but isn’t our silence the biggest risk of all?

FAST FORWARD

It’s now evening time during this dog day and all I can hear outside right now is a chorus of crickets and cicadas. It’s a symphony in my own backyard.

We couldn’t shut them up if we tried. Crickets and cicadas know when to chirp and when to remain silent. It’s part of their DNA. They’re on fire with nature’s operatic call to action.

What’s more, they do it with style. We don’t see them, but they certainly know how to make themselves known. They’re speaking up.

Who says just two incessant chirps can’t make a difference? Trust me, I know.

And as for us?

All’s I can hear right now is … the sound of crickets.



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