Have you heard of the Taos Hum—that curious (It was even featured on the TV show, Unsolved Mysteries) persistent, annoying low-frequency noise that many (particularly male) Taos locals experience? Apparently there are similar hums in places in Europe and the U.K., New Zealand and Hawaii, too, but I have to be right up front here and tell you that Leamington, Ontario doesn’t really have one of those type of hums. However, for a period of time every spring, we do have something that is equally spooky and very awe-inspiring.
I recently posted about the arrival of the first few midges of the season, and hinted that they would soon show up in very large numbers. Well, like that little girl in front of the TV in the “Poltergeist” movie, all I can say to you is, “They’re ba-ack!” These midges, with their mosquito-like whine, have converged in such mind-boggling numbers that you can hear them if you are standing inside by an open window at twilight, when they take to wing and form huge balls of agitation overhead. If you stand outside chatting with a friend like I was the other evening, it’s startling how intrusive the sound can be.
During the day, the hordes are quiet, because they’re not flying. They hang out on shady screens, doors, windows, siding—anything, really, that’s out of the sun. When the sun moves around and cuts into the shade, the line of midges takes on the same shape or angle as the shadow, leaving the rest of their roost to take the heat. And for something that is short-lived and doesn’t, I’m told, actually eat, they leave myriad little droppings all over doors, windows, and siding. Pressure washing is a good business to be in this town.
The night I took these photos, the twilight dance started at about six or eight feet off the ground, and rose up into what could have been infinity for all anyone could tell. And the individual balls of midges merged into one gigantic swarm that covered the entire sky. Parts of it over the neighbor’s house a few doors down were condensing and stretching just like those huge winter flocks of starlings and other birds do. I caught a few shots of their amoeba-like clouds against the light, it was amazing—but I was careful in my awe to keep my mouth closed!
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.