“What is that awful sound?” a friend asked as we stepped outside one summer evening. I stopped to listen.

“What awful sound?”

“That loud, repetitious noise coming from all around!”

Ahhh… that sound… “Katy-did, Katy-didn’t, Katy-did, Katy-didn’t…” One of my favorite sounds of the summer nights, now louder, now softer, filling the dark with the musical speech of hundreds of katydids proclaiming their love.

Every summer the katydids start their singing the last week of July- the week of my birthday, so I think of it as nature’s birthday song for me. I step outside with anticipation every evening, listening for the first, hesitant “Katy did, Katy did, Katy did,” as the chorus tunes up. Within minutes there are singers from several directions trying out their new voices (which are actually more like violins than voices, since the sound is made by rubbing wings together) and soon the night is filled with the throbbing music of many katydids. Katy-did, Katy-didn’t, Katy-did, Katy-didn’t…

On a another summer night our two oldest grandchildren sat on our front steps with me, excited but a bit nervous, being outside in the dark after their bedtime. Their concern quickly turned to rapt attention as katydids called from the field in front of us, with an echoing answer from beyond the stream behind us. Surrounded by the soft dark of the night, we watched the stars, listened to the song of the katydid, and sat in silent wonder.

Katydid watercolor

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