It’s cicada season in the yard. Each night a handful of them emerge from the ground and undergo their final molt.
They climb until some secret signal tells them they have climbed high enough, then they wait.
The wait must be uncomfortable–squeezed tight in hardening skin, wings constricted, an itchy seam along each tense back. Do they already understand flight? Do they regret leaving the safety of their root-laced tunnels?
Or do they simply stretch their new bodies until their old existence ruptures, until their wings straighten and strengthen, until they fling themselves into the dark abyss of the humid night sky.
Compared to last year’s numbers, the yard’s cicada population is small this year. Their molts are not accumulating in heaps at the base of the fence or over the roots of our trees. There’s no steady drone of cicada song, only occasional bursts from the wax myrtle.
Despite the relatively low number of cicadas, the yard has an unusually high concentration of cicada killer wasps.
Here’s a post about these wasps from the Scientific American Blog Network: A Feast of Cicadas. Our yard doesn’t have as many wasps as are described in the linked post, but I’ve seen more this year than ever before.
But, are there actually more wasps than before? Or do I simply notice them more?
Moving away from unanswerable questions, here’s a video from last summer:
In a final note, I want to thank the WordPress editors who Freshly Pressed my last post. Also, I want to thank the readers who visited the post, especially those who clicked the “like” button and commented. Each notification e-mail included links to your blogs, and I followed as many as time allowed. I found stories and poems full of laughter, tears, inspiration, and wisdom. I saw marvelous photographs, bookmarked tempting recipes, and added a dozen books to my wish list. It’s been a wonderful experience. Thank you!