“It is in the wild in the seventh month,

Under the eaves in the eighth month,
In the house in the ninth month,
and under my bed in the tenth month.”   *  ^
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Some anonymous soul composed this verse over 2500 years ago in China.

Today one might witness a similar pattern repeating itself here on Little Crum Creek.

Summer’s chirping symphonies of the grass have gradually dwindled to autumn’s solitary calls.

And a field cricket suddenly sounds from a darkened corner of the house.

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Only a male field cricket chirps, rubbing his wings to attract a mate.

The female is distinguished by a long, menacing-looking appendage jutting from her back end.

Actually harmless, this ovipositor inserts fertilized eggs in the soil after a successful coupling.

Those eggs overwinter, hatching a new generation of field crickets in the spring.

But the parents won’t survive to see them.

So why begrudge a male’s last call in the house or, seen from the corner of my eye somewhere down on the floor, a mother’s final crawl?

The silence and stillness of winter comes soon enough.

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By the calendar start of spring, copious crowds of leafy rosettes were already greening the streamside.

Also known as pilewort or fig buttercup, lesser celandine was introduced from Europe where Wordsworth celebrated its overlooked beauty and ornamental promise.

It is now considered invasive in Pennsylvania, reviled by many for diminishing the local diversity of spring ephemerals.

In fact, few, if any, flowering natives seem to penetrate its smothering profusion here in this part of the Little Crum corridor.

But soon its own brilliant florescence lightens the dark green space like a starry sky.

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Then, too bright to photograph in direct sunlight, one might shadow the flowers for clarity, outlining a constellation of our complicity in the natural character of our creeks.

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