There Will Be Bugs.

Most mornings are quiet when I set out for work, especially this late in the year. The summer solstice is still six weeks away and the days getting longer means the sun is now well up when I leave. There might be a few lingering crickets, a katydid or two, maybe even a tree frog, though I mostly hear those at night when I take the dogs out for one last trip around the yard before bed.

This morning I was hoping for a sound I’ve been looking forward to for thirteen years.

Nashville isn’t one of the lucky areas that’ll get overlapping cicada broods, that miracle that only happens every two-hundred and twenty-one years, but already I can’t walk more than a few feet with finding shells or the little red-eyed beasts themselves. This morning the car’s tires were covered with shells. Tree trunks I understand–they climb up from the roots they’ve been feeding on so a tree seems like a logical place. Why crawl another twenty feet and up a car tire to finally molt? Unless they’ve got a fiendish plot, like something out of a bad ‘70’s horror film, only without any real threat, unless you’re afraid of the bugs even though they can’t bite or sting. Not that bad ’70’s horror films are a threat to anything but good taste. And speaking of taste they–the cicadas, not the films, are even fine to eat, except, possibly, for people with a shellfish allergy. During the last great invasion some of my coworkers blamed me every time they found a cicada in their cubicles. I’m not sure why they blamed me—aside from the fact that I was the one who kept bringing the little winged wonders in.

Mostly they just bumble around and I’ve already had a dozen or so land on me when I’ve been out walking. And I understand. If I’d been asleep for thirteen years I’d be a little groggy and probably bumping into people too.

It’s been a cool May so far, though, and there have been heavy rains, which seems to have muted them. For all the cicadas I’ve seen out and about it’s still eerily quiet. Or at least it was. Right now, in my seventh-floor office, through the window, I can hear them tuning up. I lean back, close my eyes, and say, Children of the noon, what music they make.

Now it’s time to go and bring some in.

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  1. mydangblog

    I can’t eat a cicada? Dang! There goes tonight’s Mother’s Day appetizer;-)
    mydangblog recently posted…Zoology 101My Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, if you were to try a cicada you might need an epi-pen. There’s a lot of talk about insects as a possible protein source in the future but their relation to crustaceans–some people even say lobsters are just giant aquatic bugs–puts a damper on that for anyone with allergies.


    This post sings, Chris, and it bugs me that I won’t be witnessing this historic event. It looks like these buggers might be showing up in Massachusetts next year. Thanks for bringing it, as you always do.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Even with just one brood here in Nashville we’re getting a lot of cicadas and it’s really wonderful. Their emergence in Massachusetts will be something to look forward to. You can even try eating some if Michael’s willing to do the cooking.


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