An early dog walker passes, braving the chilly pre-dawn air. I've been out listening for the birds to return, in hope that if they should, there might be enough light by which to see them. Last night I heard them flying north. Though the moon was nearly full and the sky clear, and they flew quite low, the light was insufficient to expose them to view. Their calls, though, were clear and raucous. They were some species of waterfowl, and they must have been heading for the mountain lakes to do some night fishing in the bright moonlight. When they had passed from earshot, the night was still, and I realized that the last cricket was not chirping, even though the evening was fairly mild. The persistent orthopteroid may at last have succumbed to age or to the advancing year. Of course, he has on recent occasions been silent for to or three nights in succession and then returned to surprise me. I've enjoyed hearing the lingering voice of vanished summer. If it is finally gone, I'll miss it.