27 September 2011

Summer of Cicadas

Lately, when Claire wakes me up for breakfast, it's begun to be noticeably chilly when I throw off the sheets.  I usually love autumn but lately I find myself thinking too often, "Summer!  Come back!"
The last few months have been so strange.  I felt more like a vagabond than anything, splitting time between a cheap apartment in Cedar Rapids and a halfway fixed-up farm in Jewell.  Still, there were a few constants that made our break from school seem slightly more normal.
The cicadas seemed unusually abundant this summer.  The species most often seen around here are part of the annual cicadas that show up yearly, (not the periodic cicadas, who show up in either 13 or 17-year cycles).  They're also known as locusts, "dog day" cicadas and July flies.  Every night was filled with their droning song and whenever we went outside, there were even more of their wingless, nymph shells on the trees and walls, freshly emerged from the nearby soil.
Having worked in the entomology field for several  years, I hope to pass along my fascination of insects to my children.
Evelyn's already doing well.  She was understandably hesitant at first but with a little encouragement, she was willing to not only touch but also pick up the intriguing creatures.
If you've never heard the hypnotic strain from a cicada, here's a little clip of one we were watching on our apple tree (that is, before one of the cats tried to take a swipe at him):
All too soon, the nights are uncomfortably silent.  Most insects won't be missed but I'm already sorry the cicadas and their buzzing tune is mute for the year.  At least they're a perpetual phenomenon that we can look forward to next summer.

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