Cicada Freeville

May 24, 2004

The wife and I attended the annual Wine in the Woods a couple of weekends ago and we noticed that Brood X was just beginning to make themselves known. Shells were beginning to litter the trees as the restless insects streched their legs for the first time in 17 years. I returned home and inspected the tree in my backyard. No cicadas were found.

Shortly afterwards, I began to hear the serenade of the cicadas as I pulled up at work in the morning. I remember the first morning I heard them clearly. The weather was nice and the T-tops of my car were in the trunk. The spaceship landing behind the building made an impressive amount of noise. I returned home in the evening and listened for their mating calls. There was nothing to hear.

This weekend the wife, my child, and I attended the birthday party of a friend’s daughter in Howard County. A walk to their newly purchased swing set brought the crunches of shells under my feet. A sea of red eyes stared at me from the treetops. A multitude of shells cut Cambell’s playtime a touch short. I didn’t fancy him playing in a sea of bugs. I returned home anxious for their arrival. The woods nearby remain quiet. My trees remain bare.

At first, I was a little disappointed by this turn of events. In an odd sort of way, I’ve been looking forwards to seeing the little buggers. I’m a bit fascinated by the phenomenon. I remember their last visit faintly. The prospect of bugs (friendly bugs, mind you) on a biblical proportion sounded interesting.

But that’s begun to change (and not just because of the first hand experience I received at my friend’s home). I’m finding it strangely silly that I’ve seen literally zero cicadas at my house. It’s like there is some kind of protective basket around our neighborhood, shielding us from the plague that much of the neighboring counties are experiencing.

I go to the mall, I hear them rustling. I open the windows on the beltway and I can hear them calling. I come home and all is quiet.

I’m starting to think that Glen Burnie might want to place some advertisements in the Sun and maybe change their name over the summer months. “Tired of cicadas? We’re right next door.”

We’ve wondered about the cause. Our neighborhood was built in the seventies, so it couldn’t have been a recent turnover of the soil. We’ve joked about the possibilities, including scenarios with government officials walking around in white lap coats (Come to think of it, why does the mailman wear a radiation suit?). But I’m mostly perplexed. I’ve started to invite friends over just to offer proof.

Of course, we are braced for the inevitable. We don’t expect this string of luck to last. They’ll be by soon enough, more than happy to take over one of the last vestiges of the state. While it lasts, though, I’ll continue to think of it as a reverse theme park. In this case, the thrills are outside the gates.

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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Tina
    May 24th, 2004 at 11:47 pm #

    We don’t have ’em, either. Again, a house built in the late sixties. Earth hasn’t been turned over. But no bugs. Weird.

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