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: