The Tune Changes

The heat pushes on for now, but the autumn equinox has just passed, and the public is indignant about the summer hanging on. Boots and sweaters creep out of closets as people choose to sweat rather than miss the chance to whip out their fall wardrobe. The orange-filled Oreos are on the shelves, the mums are being planted, and the harvest festivals will go on.

Right now, the signs of summer and fall are neck and neck. But soon the scales will tip. The cicadas, whose whine was so deafening a month ago, have quieted down to nearly nothing, and though the still-green trees and the hot days would seem to say that fall is still far off, there is evidence of autumn’s arrival in the changing songs.

The sound of crows cawing is a familiar sound on a misty fall morning. But the crows have been here all year long; they don’t migrate as regularly as other birds. Their cawing comes from a change in behavior: during the summer, crows keep to themselves, spending the night in their own territories. In autumn, they gather together in large groups, flapping, bouncing, and socializing. Although crows make a number of different sounds, they stick to their distinctive caw at this time of year. All these noisy parties make them suddenly conspicuous. The rise of their morning racket reminds you that Halloween is on the way.

The crickets, too, have risen in their chorus, and their peaceful noise brings a calmness to the morning, evening, and night. Their chirps slow and quicken as the temperature changes, so listen for their speed to relax as autumn rolls in. For them, it is mating season, so their songs will ring out from now until the first hard frost. Until then, their peaceful song fills the air as the sun starts setting sooner and the world begins to slow down.

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