birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


You can hear them, even if you're not really listening, but if you do stop and listen it can be peaceful and calming and bring you back into nature, into peace. Walking at dusk, the cicadas are just warming up, similar to an orchestra warming up. First it's a kind of chirping, fairly rhythmic, and steady. Sounds like just a few insects testing their bows against the strings. Then all of a sudden, the pace quickens, and many more join in until they reach a great crescendo, as if all the cicadas in Birmingham are right here in our neighborhood playing for all they're worth. You can hear a few late birds throwing they're own bit of music into the cacophony of insects. The leaves in the trees even seem to be whispering. It dies down for a few seconds, then they all come back up to a full crescendo. It's as if nature is out there breathing as one. Can you hear it? Stop what you're doing and go outside. Listen. Hear it now? They're supposedly rubbing their legs together. That could just be a myth, I don't know for sure. We'll look it up later.

As I sit inside now, it's fully dark and the cicadas are at a steady chirp-hum. Kind of a back and forth chirp hum, chirp hum. It's very much like the hum of the refrigerator. It's interesting how busy the cicadas sound as the sun is sinking. Are they preparing for tomorrow? Are they saying farewell to the few we see on the sidewalk in the mornings? Or are they just in the here and now? Making music to make music?
Whatever it is, I like it. It wouldn't be summer without these sounds.

The Sound That Bees Make