Monday, June 23, 2008

I miss them already.

When I was a child, growing up in Bluffton, SC., the pine trees would be littered with their skins. I remember picking them off and holding them, perfect little amber exoskeletons left behind. Oh, my, what a cool insect, I'd think. How wonderful it would be to shed my own skin like that, become something new and different, become something winged and noisy. Something beautiful.

The 17-year magicicadas(even their name is somehow alchemic and wizardish) have fallen silent. They started up a few days after the guineas were set free and the guineas immediately disappeared--gone looking for them and their tastiness. They sound like something that has been left on in the house. Something you can't find. Something not natural.

You can eat them, you know. But even the collection of them is a mystical ritual--you go out at midnight and collect them as they emerge from the ground, all white and tender.

They call them locusts here and aren't nearly as in love with them as I am.

I wanted to share with you the photography of Roy Troutman, who takes amazing photographs of the magicicadas. You can find his work on Cicada Mania, along with all sorts of Cicada information.

It's so quiet now.

Here's a small sample of Troutman's work. I tried to get photos, but they flew into my hair and made me scream like a girl.


  1. Jo said...
    We still have those critters in our woods. The noise doesn't bother me as much as most people. I really did get my dander up a couple of days ago when I noticed that everyone of the 15 saplings we had planted last year are dead. I have a weeping willow that I have nursed for two years now they keep landing on and I keep running out to it as best as I can run and picking them off of it. They got the Austrees, but I refuse to let them get my willow. I hadn't had it in the ground a full week when the deer came for a snack and ate the biggest majority of the limbs. JD kept wanting to pull my (sticks) up and I kept assuring him that it will come back. Sure enough it did. It is about 5 foot tall now and keep picturing it some day giving wonderful shade.
    Hayden said...
    I remember them from my Michigan childhood. Seems that adults were driven mad by the ceaseless noise in the humid heat, but I always loved them.
    erin ambrose said...
    ahhhhh....we have cicadas here in the high desert. i didn't have them in the high mountain so its a treat. i love collecting the brown husks they leave clinging to branches when they emerge with they are irridescent green when full grown.
    i love love the sound....esp. since it helps to drown out the neighbors barking dogs.
    John J said...
    I saw this, and thought of you...

    Cicada Jewelry.

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