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September song

September song

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Robin Leach Mug

Robin Garrison Leach

Step outside on a late September afternoon and you hear the sounds of a million voices singing about life. It is at once raucous and soothing; rhythmic and staccato. Close your eyes and feel the electricity that surges through the air in a music as primal as any noise on earth.

The music starts gently; a burring sound that tickles the ears… then, low and guttural, like a groan from deep inside.

It comes from everywhere — the trees, the grass, the fenceposts and the weedy ditches. Spin around and you will hear it at every turn. Metered crackles jitter along the balmy, thick air. Which is the original vibration and which is the echo?

Your ears take in the song of the cicadas and the notes thrum though your body like the rings made from a rock skipping over water. The melody they choose for their chorus is a see-saw of complementary tones that are both urgent and lazy. Some are constant. Some undulate and sway through the air in ever-changing timbre.

Feel the progression as you listen. It begins softly; a gnawing whisper that hints at its intent. The noise builds, grows, scratch upon scratch, until you feel as if the only sounds in the world are right here. Right now.

In this sultry afternoon, you are surrounded by cicada voices, all eager to announce their brief existence before they disappear once again.

Their calls are clamorous. Solitary, yet reaching for a connection with other life. A growing plea that rises like a wave along calm, muggy skies. Louder and louder.

The volume becomes uneasy — urgent — as its cacophony wafts a movement and flow that pleads for an audience and demands attention.

It undulates and grows toward a peak of thunderous screaming…

Then, like the aftermath of life’s best moments, the sound begins to fall away. Slowly, shimmery, solemnly. The rhythm remains intact throughout; a buzzing that is as familiar as a deep breath and freeing exhalation. The volume and tempo dim. Sated.

The message has been sent. The moment has passed. The song melts into the weeds and trees and grasses of summertime, leaving behind a quiet made more beautiful by its sheer depth.

But only for a blink of life. It begins again and you feel a stirring of connection to memories of every September of your life.

Listen to the cicadas. Their voices will fill your soul with the pattern of nature’s unending cycles. In arcs of soft whispers and fierce calling, they sing their needs into the summer air and signal the coming of a new season.

My favorite sound.

Robin Garrison Leach is a freelance writer and columnist from Quincy, Illinois."Robin Writes" is published in numerous Missouri and Illinois newspapers. Contact her at


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