Billions of noisy cicadas are set to rise from the ground in the northeastern part of the United States. It’s about time something outshouted you-know-who.
I have written about cicadas before – to be precise in June of 2011.
I was in central Illinois, visiting my father for the better part of a week. We worked around the house doing some routine maintenance – cutting grass, plugging woodpecker holes, fussing with the water softener, replacing broken windows, slathering roofing tar on a leaky overhang, etc.
We did all this in the midst of a prodigious hatch of cicadas, which is a humbling event for humans who are accustomed to feeling dominant, or even merely significant.
The bugs called the tune that spring – a tune that literally filled the air, resembling the constant ring of a busted wheel bearing early in the day, and by mid afternoon becoming a steady rattle, like the nonstop shaking of a huge tambourine. It’s the males who make the loudest noise, relentlessly advertising their sexual availability.
Why can’t they just quietly post some images of their parts on Twitter?
Working outside, we were subjected to a random sideways rain of buzzing, bulgy-eyed revelers who covered the trunks of trees and erupted in clouds from the shrubbery whenever branches were disturbed. At a nearby grocery store, the girl who tended the cart corral did her work with one hand wielding a flyswatter to keep insect invaders from getting tangled in her hair. This small gesture gave her necessary courage to face the onslaught, though she was bailing the ocean with a teacup.
The cicadas will do their work. They have an assignment to hatch, mate, and die, planting the next generation in the process. Six weeks of glory and see you in 2024! There’s no confusion about purpose or wondering ‘what I want to do when I grow up’ in the cicada world. I envy their focus and devotion to the task at hand.
I guess that’s really the task “at leg.” Thank God they don’t have hands!
Choose an animal to do a six week infestation of your life.