Thursday, July 12


I heard the familiar alien sound yesterday for the first time this year.

There are hundreds of species of cicada. I don't know one from another. I do know they are big noisy bugs, scary to some, beautiful to others, loud in their proclamations of six-legged love. I am fascinated by them, not only because they are delicate and strong, but because they are an annual miracle. They are a reminder of the world's incomparable wonder and delight, if one uses the gift to see glory in small things.

I have often wondered why life is so prevalent, so tenacious, on this little ball of mud we call home. I believe the question answers itself; life is prevalent because it is tenacious. However life came about, a conundrum I will not debate here, it is everywhere because those aggressive in their perpetuation have dominated those lackadaisical in their amorous pursuits. In other words, it is not dog eat dog. It is breed or disappear.

Nature doesn't care about the individual, only its ability to contribute to its species. Many species risk predatory attention and death in their reproductive displays, all to prove skill and persistence in the continuation of their kind. The bird's feathers, the frog's voice, the deer's antlers, the signal scents, the obvious calls, the gaudy floral excesses all blare two messages: 1) I can do this and still survive so I am worthy of your time and energy, and 2) Time for sex!

Some cicadas, as I understand it, spend seventeen years underground until they become adults. That's a long time. What do they do? Sit and turn and pupate and whatever cicada kids do. Meanwhile we humans, for our first seventeen years, create aggravation and confusion and waste.

On this day in July, when cloud barges navigate the currents of an impossibly blue sky, when desert rains announce their maybe arrival with ancient aromatic resin smells, when the temperature hovers between one-hundred-and-hot and unbearable, on this one day perfect for creatures more adapted than we, the male cicada emerges from his dirt nest, climbs the gnarled arthtritic branches of a mesquite tree dangling its succulent seed pods, and screams his lust.

Go horny little cicada! Bzzzzzzzzzt for the mate you so desperately need, giving the insectoid middle finger to your enemies, and proclaim your desire and ability to procreate, fulfilling the millions-year premise and promise of your forebears. Remind us of these most important lessons, these realities, these truths, that we may share them with our children and our fellows, thereby increasing the chances for our kind.

1 comment:

Shari said...

It hasn't been 17 years (but it sure feels like it). I am very close to buzzing my own insectoid middle finger of desperation myself.

I will miss your posts.....for now.