The soil in our town recently grew warm enough for the cicadas to emerge. I don’t think we’ve seen any around here since 1996. This bunch has been living underground for 17 years.
We find them (or the outer skeletons they’ve left behind) every morning, mostly on tree trunks, but also on our garage door, our front steps and even our car tires. They’re looking for a temporary home in a hospitable tree. If they find a safe place to rest and mature, they’ll make an amazing amount of noise and attempt to mate. The females who survive will give birth to a new generation. In 3 weeks or so, all of the adults will die.
A filmmaker named Daniel Orr is trying to finish an hour-long documentary about these remarkable animals. He’s using Kickstarter to raise money. If you visit the site below, you can watch 7 minutes of his film. One viewer (no fan of the cicadas, she thought they were really creepy the last time she saw them, when she was 8) called this short video “terrifying, beautiful, disgusting and sad”.
It seems irrational to feel sorry for these insects. Or to feel any other strong emotion about them. Yet it’s hard not to feel something when you watch Mr. Orr’s video. Maybe we imagine ourselves waiting such a long time and then coming into the light.
P.S. — This morning, the ones who made it into the trees are proclaiming their presence to the world!