Thursday, May 10, 2007

They're coming!

Long Suffering Spouse ushered me over to the side of the house last night.

"Look there!" she commanded, and I did, increasingly apprehensive as I waited for whatever was lurking in the ground cover to rush out at me. I thought she'd found a mouse or a wounded bird... maybe even a snake. And I just knew I'd shriek and jump and make a fool of myself.

My posture alone was sufficient to convey to Long Suffering Spouse that I'd not seen what she lured me out of the house to see. "Look closer," she told me. I looked at the plants again and she corrected me: "No, on the ground."

I zeroed in now -- and then I saw a couple of distinct holes.

Not as many, yet, as these which a Chicago Tribune photographer found in a local forest preserve. But the shape and size... yes, they are almost here.

The 17-year cicadas: For 17 years they lie buried in the ground, emerging for not even 17 days, only to mate and die and make a great deal of noise in the process.

Seventeen years ago, at our old house, on the other side of the parish, there weren't too many of these beasties -- but we had our fill and then some when we ventured into nearby Park Ridge. Our next door neighbor told LSS that our current area was carpeted with the bugs last time out, so it may be quite spectacular soon.

The little kids from two doors down came over to see the holes with their mother. She told them each how old they'll be the next time the cicadas emerge.

LSS was just a little misty when we went in the house. "That's just what I told our kids the last time. And now...."

And now they really are that old, yes.

All except for Youngest Son, of course. He wasn't around for the last go-round. Somehow, though, even I understood that it would not be necessary to point this out.


Joe said...

I think I was 10 years old when they came out of the ground in Arizona (1970). We didn't know they were harmless to us. We were using badminton rackets, rolled up newspapers, and baseball bats to swat them as they flew past us. I was never there to see it again.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Are they part of a horror film?

emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, I have to admit, this is one of the great things about living in the south (there are plenty of not-so-great things). Here, we have cicadas every summer, and I've never been able to find anyone who can tell me whether they're 17-year-cicadas, just in endless, consecutive 17-year-cycles, or whether they're annual cicadas. Doesn't matter, really...I love the sound of them, absolutely LOVE it. I'm happy to think what a treat you're in for.



The Curmudgeon said...

Not a horror movie, Jean-Luc, its very real.

Judi -- we have annual cicadas too; that's an end of summer bug -- fireflies early in the summer, cicadas at the end... but these cicadas are supposed to be deafening if you happen to be in a concentrated area....

Lahdeedah said...

I think we had a bunch when I was living in Va. Not as bad as you guys. My daughter's class, well, the whole school, did a project about them. We heard them. They make these awful noises. I was mildy afraid... I mean, I have seen enough horror flicks about bugs to know what happens when large swarms of bugs get together...

Clif Martin said...

I'm proud of you. Curmudgeong is what this world needs more of. I was a young curmudgeon when I was your age. Now my spouse has been suffering over twice as long as yours. It might not be good to get them together. Yours might decide to opt out.

Barb said...

I think it would have been funny if you had shrieked and jumped, but that's just me.

I never knew this! 17 years? Amazing.

Where fibers meet mud said...

Cicadas - what great stories we have of them - the year we moved to Souther Ohio from Northern IL (1987) they were of the epic proportion! I remember school buses filled with them because the children would release them from jars on the ride. You could not talk outside because they would fly in your mouth! Have fun!