This pair of cricket holders from about 1800 intrigues me. The cultural inclination of the Chinese people to hold crickets captive dates form the Tang dynasty of the 5th century and these holders made of gourds, ivory and turtle shell would fit gently in a person’s hand.
The singing crickets soothed the Chinese and reminded them of the brevity of life in the fall, and the provision of life by nature in the spring.
As summer approaches, we will hear the crickets, and I remember loving the sounds of both crickets and frogs at Blackwater Bluff, my farm in New Hampshire.
In our American culture, we do not keep crickets in cages to inspire hope. But we no less greet fear and anxiety at night. Night lights, late night television, alcohol, all are used to sooth our fears the way the ancient Chinese used crickets.
Summer is stunning in Colorado. The mornings are crisp and cool, the evenings warm, long and bugs-less. Kai spends most of his free time in the garden, on soft grass, snoring. We emerge from our winter-houses, joining nature as she swoons before God in gratitude.
Rosaries, holy water vials, tabernacles, monstrances – we Christians have our versions of God-containers which keep us feeling safe – in possession of the divine safety. But I wonder what kind of connection we can find with God by simply making more time to sit in a green space, away from churches, listening to the bugs and birds sing, and feel, deeply, gratitude that God has granted us another day to live.