Time does Fly

They have been gone for seventeen years. I suppose it’s unkind of me to say that I haven’t missed them much.  Their appearance marks the passing of time and reminds me of my age. I was a small child playing in the gravel on the banks of a lake with my brother and another little boy when I first saw one. Although, I can no longer remember that little boy’s name, or even the name of the lake we were playing by, I can still remember in vivid detail the creature’s black skin, the red eyes, and the transparent wings. My exclamation that day was much the same as my daughter’s when she saw her first one this week. “What is that??”

“That,” is a periodic cicada, or as we know them, a seventeen year locust. This week my front yard is inundated with them. They are hanging on the flowers, hanging on the trees, crawling across the porch, and leaving their little shells behind them. I would be freaked out if I didn’t know how very gentle they are. My biggest fear is stepping on them.

Every seventeen years they crawl out of the ground, shed their skin, find a mate, lay their eggs and die. Those eggs hatch into larva, which drop to the ground and crawl back in. Where they go once they return to the soil is a mystery to me. I have cared for my flower beds for ten years and never dug up one.

An empty shell

Starting to shed his skin




Filed under Photography, Wildlife

4 responses to “Time does Fly

  1. I usually only see them squished by cars or the leftover exoskeletons. They’re pretty up close!

    • And they don’t have an aggressive cell in their little bodies. They don’t bite, nor do they mind being handled. I must have transferred thirty of them from the walkways to the bushes and trees so far, but it’s a losing battle. More are coming out every day. This morning, the back wall of the house was covered with them. Soon they will start to sing. No one in the neighborhood will be sleeping in when that starts!

  2. Beautiful little insect. Fascinating life. Eyes only Stephen King could look into. Great post!!

  3. Thank you!
    The red eyes do make them look a little evil, but once you get to know them, you find that they’re actually a pleasant, little bug. They don’t bite or chew up your flower or vegetable plants, and they’re far to big to fly up your nose.

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