|Prints from Anderson Design Group|
The year was 1987. I was a seventh grader at Washington Irving Middle School in Springfield, Virginia. The summer was upon us - hot and humid, and quiet but for the trees whispering in the wind. But this quiet would not last, oh no, because the Brood X 17 year cicadas were to emerge that summer...flooding the air with their chirping drone, loud enough to keep me awake at night when I needed the windows open to cool my bedroom. It must've been June when the cicadas arrived...when their song first announced their presence.
At first I was scared. At that age, I did not particularly like insects, especially large ones, and especially ones that could fly. But there was no avoiding them. As I walked to the bus stop in the morning, they were everywhere - covering the trees, on the ground...there were shed exoskeletons littering the grass. In some areas, you could not avoid walking on them. But as I was forced to coexist with these creatures, I discovered that they were fascinating - they had these beady red eyes, black bodies and clear wings - and they were actually kind of cute. They didn't move fast, which I also liked. It was easy to pick them up - I can still remember how their jagged legs clung to my hand.
And before I knew it, they were gone. Their bodies remained, but their mission had been accomplished: they mated, and died. They would not return for another 17 years, and the cycle continued.
|Photo by Wikimedia Commons|