M M M My Cicada

From Saturday’s New York Times:

CICADAS-articleInline-v2An Invasion of 17-Year-Olds, Loud, Lusty and Six-Legged

There are a few acts of nature, such as the passage of Halley’s comet or the transit of Venus, that are so rare and so dramatic as to seem like metaphors for the virtues of patience itself. But of all of these, the arrival of the 17-year cicadas, the noisy insects that nestled under the earth for that length of time and recently awakened by the millions to spawn, may be the grossest.

Last week, Joyce Lieb battled her way through a lawn on Staten Island all but ceded to the bumbling bugs. They made a beeline to her through the air and crawled up her trousers. And though she thoughtfully tiptoed around mating couples, each step produced a crunch as their shed skins shattered.

The hardcrunching staff encountered the 17-year locusts in 1970s Cincinnati, when they blanketed lightposts and we swept them off our Austin Healey Sprite (stolen three days after we moved to Boston) with a broom.

As JoAnne Garber Schoen of West Nyack, N.Y., told the Times:

“They are mating on the deck; they are mating on the banister; they are mating on the plants . . .  They don’t care, they are just mating all over the place. They have no shame whatsoever.”

Then again, “[although] she calls them ‘the bane of my existence,’ Ms. Garber Schoen stops short of disturbing them. ‘They’ve waited 17 years,’ she said. ‘They’re entitled.’ Plus, she added, in two weeks or so, they will be gone until 2030.”

Long live the 17-year locusts, yeah?

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1 Response to M M M My Cicada

  1. Nature, in all its ickiness.

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