Writing has been tough lately due to the constant car alarm hum of 17 year cicadas. I remember my best friend and I about 6 years old walking my Ohio neighborhood with a brown paper bag and filling it with shells. With that memory in mind, I have had my girls out exploring the cicadas.
|Cicada lifecycle in|
We found our first nymph emerging from the ground during the search for a bug to put in the bug playground. (If you aren't familiar with the "bug playground," it's a plastic dome with a little ramp for bugs to walk on. It's basically like having your own coliseum with really tiny lions.)
"I don't want that bug, it's too ugly!" my 5yo cried.
"Well, it's going to come out of its shell and be like a butterfly. Well, an ugly butterfly." That was the clincher - anything nearly like a butterfly is good enough for her. We put the nymph in our butterfly cage, but I'm afraid that didn't turn out well. To which my daughter in true Veruca fashion says "This one's dead. I want another one!!!" We tried it again with similar results and thus abandoned the idea of emergence in captivity.
About a week later, I saw one emerging from its shell on the shed. Then I saw one which had already emerged. Then I saw another and another. I realized I was surrounded and the feeling went from exhilaration to ewww. "Maybe we should go inside," I said to the girls. But with each step I heard the crunch of nymphs and shells under foot.
After giving the cicadas a few days to head into the trees, we returned to the yard. We started picking up shells, which is quite satisfying- like an Easter Egg hunt for brown eggs with creepy legs. We also found cicadas made lovely (in the way you would call Frankenstein lovely) pets. They are content to hang out on your hand especially if you make a loud whirring sound (there's always a sound coming from my kids).
We watched with amusement/horror as squirrels picked up cicadas and ate them like corn on the cob. They don't seem to have a taste for the heads and wings, because those are abandoned everywhere. The wings do have a delightful sparkle, and my 5yo amazed me by tossing a handful in the air creating the grossest appendage confetti ever.
Not to be outdone, my 3yo picked up a cicada and said "I'm going to kiss him." To which I said "Huh, what was that?" Sure enough she put that cicada right up to her tiny lips and gave him a big smooch. Then she did it again.
The cicada song is beginning to quiet and though I’ll miss shaking branches at the playground to make the cicadas chase the kids, I'm happy to write in peace. Which I'm going to do just as soon as I sweep all the carcasses off the porch...
Have you had any run ins with nature lately?