Monthly Archives: June 2013

All sound is the sound of mantra: Locust Grove cascade and PTC cicadas

Since the local 17-year cicadas are mostly hidden in the obviously teeming woods around the PTC perimeter, I decided to stop in today at Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse estate on the Hudson River about 15 minutes up Route 9. Not a single cicada to be seen or heard. OK, so maybe it’s named after the trees.

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All sound is the sound of mantra: 17-year cicadas June 2

The 17-year cicadas, last seen here in 1996, are not having an easy time of it.  After waiting 17 years underground to emerge for their brief, glorious moment in the sunlight and air, they were delayed by a long, cool spring. When they finally started to come out during the two-week Saka Dawa nyungne retreat in May, a blast of cold weather halted them in their tracks. But at last, in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave this week, they are emerging in numbers, and their eerie hum grows louder every day. As of today, we can hear them throughout the monastery grounds.

All sound is the sound of mantra: cicadas June 2, 2013

(High sound volume recommended)

cicada and begonia June 2 2013

The constant hum of the cicadas reminds me of this meditation instruction from Chamgon Tai Situ Rinpoche:

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All sound is the sound of mantra: frog chorus and ballet

At Mapleknoll Marsh, the trick to spotting frogs is to eavesdrop a bit at the entry, then make your way in slow motion onto the boardwalk just to where you can survey the water surface. Yesterday morning I spotted nine frogs, though quite a few splashes and shrieks informed me that my presence was detected by many others. I have found that while most frogs dive underwater before I’m even close, others seem impervious to my presence, even if I go out of my way to get their attention. Two tiny videos below: in the first one, a chorus of green frogs (high twang) and bullfrogs (deep rrrrr) from the marsh entrance; in the second, the camera movement is me trying to get some action.

Mapleknoll Marsh frog chorus

Mapleknoll Marsh frog ballet

(High volume setting recommended.)

Frogs on logs in Mapleknoll Marsh, first heat wave, May 30, 2013