Tim Reynolds

There was such a hullabaloo about the cicadas this year: “I am inundated with them,” or “They are everywhere.”

I haven’t heard even one cicada at my home. They just didn’t visit anywhere near me.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t hear one in Ohio until my wife and I took kayaks out on the Tiffin River in mid-June.

On that day, we put in at the old metal bridge that spans the Tiffin on West High Street in Defiance. I don’t recommend putting in at that spot; there’s a lot of poison ivy and the ramp is quite steep. But the ride upstream was quiet and relaxing after a week of work.

Annie and the kids had just come back from a week of camping in Michigan, and the two of us wanted to get some time alone on the water. There’s nothing like a kayak ride to relieve stress and quiet the mind.

We decided to go upstream so we could float back downstream when we were tired. Not that big a deal in retrospect, as the Tiffin doesn’t have a strong current — at least not that day.

As I paddled my way to destinations unknown, I got a different view of the flora and fauna than I would have on the bank.

Every once in a while I would drift from one side to the other and get a closer look at the tree roots that always make neat formations along riverbanks. The cottonwoods were starting to let loose their dander and at times I imagined a light snowfall among the sprinklings of sunlight.

Wood ducks and mallards played in the distance at one spot — flying off to hide as I got closer.

Around a bend from where I had spotted some water plants, turtles sunned on the branch of a tree that had fallen into the river. When they saw me, the sliders quickly plopped into the water and out of sight.

We continued upstream for over an hour before I realized the familiar sound of cicadas.

I didn’t realize what I was hearing at first. I remember consciously remarking, “That’s the first cicadas I have heard this year.”

For me, the cicada song is the sound of summer. As the annual cicadas sing each summer, it reminds me that summer wears on.

The periodic cicadas, Brood X as they were called in this area, that I heard this time had a higher pitched call. The closer we got, the more deafening the sound became.

All in all, it felt good to experience life with other animals in my relaxing ride on the Tiffin. It offered me some time to reflect on my life and to see the world in a different way.

It’s always good for me when I slow down and just enjoy life.

Sometimes I don’t realize what’s going on around me because my perspective gets out of whack.

When I get out of the rut of looking at life in the same way, day after day — of running the so called, “rat race” — I experience all of life differently.

We all have blind spots and biases and need a little light shed on them now and then.

Each of us, at some time in our lives, has missed out on so much because we didn’t take time to look, or couldn’t take in all that was happening because of a skewed perspective.

Maybe I need more time for reflection? Maybe I just need to enter into different places from time to time, so that I can appreciate the diversity of life.

It’s in those quiet moments that I learn something new about me and about my world.

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