Attack of the Lusty Cicadas!

“They’re hereeeee!” The ominous-sounding Brood X has arrived in our neighborhood! But first, a flashback:

When I was 15, I took a cross-country trip. We stopped to make sandwiches at a park in Amarillo, Texas. Two things: first, that was where I met my lifelong pen pal Judy; second, there was an incredibly loud buzz in the air, which I assumed was some kind of electrical problem. It was deafening, and kind of scary. Was a transformer tower about to blow and electrocute us?

Fortunately, I survived. And I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Two things: Judy and I are still pen pals (only we now use that newfangled “Facebook” doohickey). Second, as of this week, we now live with the source of that mysterious “electrical” buzz: cicadas! This is our first time, so you might call us cicadal virgins.

And so are the cicadas, for that matter.

Brood X, in less science-fiction-sounding terms, simply means group #10 of a unique genus called “magicicadas.” What makes them so magicadal? Think Greek! Virginal cicada “nymphs” live underground for 17 years. And then, upon hearing some magical genetic siren call, they all (all as in billions) climb up out of the soil, shed their skins, and grow bulgy red eyes and leaded-glass wings.

Why? So they can fly up into the trees and await the Bacchanalian ritual to come! During the next few weeks, “our” cicadas will shed their virginity in a perfectly choreographed ritual, producing the next generation of nymphs. They’ll also produce a deafening mating “song” that is nearly identical to the sound of a lawnmower. Which is why, I’m told, I may want to wear my COVID mask while mowing in order to avoid unwanted amorous encounters.

We’ve opened our front door every morning this week to find thousands of discarded skins (exoskeletons) on our front porch and in our yard. And we’ve watched in fascination as these newly-bewinged love bugs make their way up the trees!

Cicadas aren’t subtle. You wouldn’t be either if your entire life consisted of waiting for one moment of perfect bliss. Come to think of it, that’s what I was like at 17.

And I was nearly as loud.

I’m already looking forward to June, when our lightning bugs emerge with their little love-butts aglow.

Ah, summer romance!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Attack of the Lusty Cicadas!

  1. henhouselady says:

    The romance of the bugs. It sounds like a good horror movie with a twist. I love the lightening bugs, but can do without the Cicadas. I enjoyed reading this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Seems they have not invaded upper North Carolina yet but I am looking forward to the lightening bugs, me looking this way and that on the front porch like watching an intense tennis match trying to catch the :”sparks” swirling around. .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As many times as I’ve heard cicadas, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I live in Maryland, and Brood X is busy here, too. It’s fascinating that they’ve spent 17 years underground, then are up here for Bacchanalia — such a fitting word that you used. Last time they were here, someone described their sound as a spaceship in a ’50s sci-fi movie, and I still enjoy that description 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reminds me of June bugs whamming against the screen widows and doors of our old farmhouse. As a kid, I was miffed that they were named for my birthday month.

    Once I perched on an overturned bucket for an hour or so to watch a cicada shed its skin which clung to a yard-light pole (same farm). Guess hundreds of them aren’t quite so fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. haoyando says:

    Wow, they shed exoskeletons like that? Cover the front porch? LOL. I hope they are not too loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I walked seventeen miles one night through a blinding snow storm. That took long enough. Seventeen years? No wonder those little buggers are so loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. revruss1220 says:

    Cicadas are truly deafening with their mating song. Apparently they aren’t a thing here in Colorado because we have not heard them yet. Yet one more thing that makes living here so wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mitch, only you could make these critters sound fun. The last week every walk with my dog has been one big wrestling match,with him being determined to eat as many of them as possible, and me trying to keep him from getting enough in him to require “intensive veterinary care.” (Surgery) 🤦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gregoryjoel says:

    This Spring I’ve had my first encounter with Copperheads at the farm. Apparently, the drastic increase of the cicada population is partly responsible for the influx of snakes. We’ve always had Water Moccasins by the river but this is a new event at the farm. I feel obligated to tell our volunteers to wear boots, but a couple of them aren’t coming back out of fear of snakes. I suppose I could blame it on our insect friends but I won’t. I love the sound of them singing across a summer evening, but I can do without the snake population.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carla says:

    They haven’t made it to Southern Ontario yet, but I know they are coming. Happy Spring/Summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. apenlady says:

    Mitch, I’m moving to the East Coast next year. Are you serious about wearing a mask and the lawn mower comment? Yikes! If so, the next time they come out to play, I’ll hire someone to mow my lawn and watch from inside.

    Liked by 2 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Ask me after I mow this coming Saturday. Last Saturday was cold and overcast, so the cicadas stayed low. But this week it’s warming back up (they like it warm), so they’re cranking up the buzz–and starting to fly around.

      Liked by 2 people

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