Cicadas and “A Dry Year”

Cicada escapes carbonite after 17 years."animation"

This remarkable video is courtesy of "Iowa Todd." He has compressed about an hour of film into 20 seconds of animation. Check out Todd's Flickr photostream here. I'm sure there is a biological reason for the leg drumming on his abdomen as he emerges, but it looks like celebration to me. (Think Roger Daltrey and The Who's "I'm Free" and hum along.)

Seventeen-year cicadas provide the soundtrack to Richard Gilbert's essay, "A Dry Year," in the current issue of Chautauqua (Issue 6, the story and storytelling issue).

The hot, dry weather is almost a character itself in Richard's descriptions of that year in Ohio when he was bound and determined to have a pond built at his family's newly purchased sheep farm. His reflective, direct writing speaks truth to me. In its self-revelation, I learn more about my own self.

I've been seeing empty cicada shells everywhere the last few days — even stuck on the side of an outdoor garbage can down by the gate. The photo below is one I took of a cicada shell on a pine tree in 2004.



8 thoughts on “Cicadas and “A Dry Year”

  1. Whoa — that’s a thrilling video. I’ll have to show my boys. I remember so well seeing those casings as a child. I wonder why we don’t here in Los Angeles? Maybe we only have locusts?


  2. The emerging cicada in the video reminds me of Tarzan beating on his chest. I’m impressed by the cicada’s movements as it arches back and beats on its chest. I


  3. Nice photo against the pine bark!
    We (Mrs. Perils & I) grew up in NW Ohio, and cicadas began their lugubrious arias in mid-August, foretelling the end of summer. I miss those hot, humid, still summer nights, the moisture in the air almost tidal, fireflies blinking and languidly floating like miniature dirigibles, the cicadas almost deafening, and an opportunity for a sly hand down the front of shorts that have no incentive to stay buttoned.
    “It always seems so righteous at the start
    When there’s so much laughter
    When there’s so much spark
    When there’s so much sweetness in the dark”


  4. Please post something else on your blog. Every time I come here that Michael-Jackson-creepy thing emerges from its shell and looks at me. It’s unnerving.


  5. That is a great video! If we paid more attention to such things, we’d go mad or become saints. Cicadas forever creep me out, but then I associate them with that summer of biblical plagues. Thank you for the nice words about my essay.


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