Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Unearthed Cicadas

The sun was beating down from a clear sky. Following instructions, my husband and I scouted out areas by a large tree in the back of the brewery for an extended family gathering. I placed my purse on a weather-beaten picnic table like a miner staking his claim. Then,  I looked down to find a massive gathering of cicadas risen from their earthen tombs. Some were attempting to fly; others laying lifeless. It was a strange, eerie scene that we did not photograph in our haste to move.

Withing in the depths of dirt 

their winged bodies lay

in clumps of half-awake beings.

Waiting to unfold onto earth.

Quietly, they clustered,

Emerging from deep sleep below-surface

Only to be choked by intense heat.

Some attempting to fly

Edged their way forward

Hanging from worn picnic tables.

We moved quietly away

Worried these creatures would attack

But they were only interested in survival.

Those above ground huddled together.

Some flew away while others staggered 

On the ground in the dirt.

These large, bugged-eyed creatures

Huddled together like colonies of ants-

Such a sight to behold

that shocked me

but what a science lesson

it became for a toddler's mind.

As my granddaughter approached we looked quickly at the picnic area strewn with cicadas and peeked at the holes they dug. Hand in hand we walked away to a more pleasant sight that was bug-free. My hope is that she will remember her first sighting of these creatures seventeen years in her future. 

In 1689 Basho wrote:

閑さや (Stillness)
岩にしみ入る (seeping into the rocks)
蝉の声 (the cicada's voice)

life emerges

from a tiny hole
creeping outward

bug-eyed with wonder
they awake from slumber
unaware of what awaits
©CV, 2021, cherita

Join me at Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday Slice of Life.


  1. Carol, how wonderful that you were there for your grandfather's first cicada sighting. I hope somehow her thoughts were recorded and that she can pull them out seventeen years from now. I haven't seem or heard any here. BTW, your link on TWT is not working. It links back to the TWT page.

    1. Bob, thanks for finding my error. I corrected it with credit to you. Today, I was fortunate to pick up my granddaughters at their day care/school. I went with my daughter. After the initial big hug, Sierra told me that cicadas fly. I was thrilled that she remembered our little lesson and should have asked her if the teachers were talking about the cicadas that were in the parking lot of the school.

  2. Carol, wow. What a great experience of finding this dense population of cicadas emerging. I have only seen smatterings of cicada shells and heard their mating calls.

    So true here:
    "but what a science lesson
    it became for toddler's mind."

    It would be fascinated to see the Brood X emerging. Your two poems and the additional poem written in 1689(!) are really interesting. I wrote a poem this month too about the periodical cicadas,

    1. Denise, I read your Brood X poem that holds many facts that are fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What a science lesson indeed, Carol - fascianting for the young ones and us not-as-young ones! I've been reading with envy of people watching Brood X emerge. I love cicadas (their discordant buzzing a particularly evocative sound for me) and have written of them quite a bit. They represent renewal, rebirth, transformation, change. They're linked to Aurora, goddess of the dawn - thought you might enjoy knowing that if you didn't already! I hope your granddaughter will remember them 17 years later also, and that they become a special symbol for her. I enjoyed this post so much.

    1. Did you know that my 2nd granddaughter's name is Aurora, AKA Little Baby? I do hope 17 years in the future that Sierra will remember our little science lesson. Cicadas always remind me of summer with their amazing sounds.

  4. The sound of non-cyclical cicadas is deafening in central Texas summers; in a TV segment on Brood X, I learned that their collective "noise" is as loud as a lawnmower. Thanks for sharing this experience with us; what a sight to be privy too, a "wonder moment" for your grandchild!

    1. Thanks for joining me here, Chris. I have never heard cicada sounds as loud as you said. Cicadas are a wonder right now. We have none in my new community. It is believed that when the ground was dug, the top layer where the cicadas slept was removed. What Sierra and I saw was a mass of holes with cicadas strewn all over. It was a mini graveyard.