Monday, May 23, 2011

The Cicada Cycle

I'm not a bug person. Too many legs and really weird eyes. You would think with two sons, often giddy about anything squirmy and squishy, and then a mountain man for a husband, that I would have some affection for these living creatures. Not so much. I think it boils down to their lack of respect for my personal space. They're everywhere and I think it's rude.

I read last week that the cicadas (often referred to as locusts) will be coming out of the ground by the thousands this week. They've been underground for 13 years and are finally emerging for a few short weeks. Magicicada is the species here. As far as I can tell, their short life above ground is dedicated to singing loud love songs, mating and then more mating, and finally the laying of a gazillion eggs by the female. Death follows closely after for all the adults. The eggs hatch, fall to the summer grass and bury themselves underground for another decade or so.

I'm not sure why I'm fascinated by the cicada story. You would think thousands of bugs emerging from the ground would be enough to freak me out. It's the cycle of the cicadas, however, that draws me in. When this group of babies first crawled underground, I had moved away from Jefferson City for the first time and was soaking up the college experience. I loved every minute of it. Since then, I've married, worked some tough jobs, lived in a big city and moved back home, given birth to two children, grown older and hopefully a little wiser. What will the next 13 years bring, I wonder?

My boys were gathering cicadas this evening. Glee and merriment abounded. Cicadas, cicadas! I even watched as one baby emerged from it's hard shell, all white and wet, to spread it's wings. It was a beautiful site even with the red, beady eyes. Any mother would have been proud. It also hit home how precious life is on this earth. We may have a few weeks, or 13 more years, or a lifetime, if we are really lucky, but unfortunately we have no control over the time clock. We are just a part of the cycle, like it or not. We must keep emerging, my friends, despite the struggle. Like the cicada, I will try to do the same.