Saturday, May 31, 2008

Aliens among us


The cicadas are out in full force down in Lincoln county. We got to the in-laws in time for the emergence of Brood XIV in their backyard.

I didn't know it was time for cicadas, so when I was walking down by the nearly non-existent creek in the back, I was startled by the sight of countless blank-eyed brown hulls clutching at the undersides of the leaves around me. It was a little frightening at first, when I first registered the existence of those bodiless shells, so numerous the leaves were drooping with their weight, as it seemed the invasion of the body-snatchers was upon us.

Later that night, we went out to the buckeye trees and watched the cicadas rising from the ground and crawling up the trunks to find a spot to molt. There were so many, the surface of the trees rippled like a breeze whispering over a lake.

They seem remarkably dumb, content to crawl along your hand, oblivious to the dangers inherent in being so trusting. I guess that's how it is when you've reached the point of your life where your sole purpose is to carry on your line. Right now the males are singing outside, pining for females. It's the sound of summer--how strange it is that we associate the song of dying insects with the joys of this fleeting season.

1 comment:

dwain said...

I was at Veteran's Park last weekend, and the stalks of grass were drooping with them. You couldn't take a step without one beginning a slow climb up your leg. This weekend in Louisville wasn't quite as "bad," but they were still absolutely everywhere. One of the guys I was with asked perhaps the stupidest question ever: "What is that sound? It sounds like a spaceship."

He had a seriously sibilant 's' to top it off.