“Live for today.” Or, at least that’s what I imagined the cicadas said when they first emerged. Their calls awakened a window to the past by transforming our woods to a tropical rainforest. The male cicada‘s croaking vibrations whirled from the treetops in a deafening crescendo while the females snapped their legs in reply.
I came upon a turtle so entranced by the primordial cacophony, he forgot to hide, even when I stood beside him. He remained mid-stride, his neck stretched in awe toward the treetops.
When the male calls changed from a croaking roar to a steady buzz, I imagined they said, “I will survive.” They had lived in darkness eating tree root sap for almost two decades.
With only two weeks left to live, they dug through rock-hard dirt into sunlight. They shed their skins, unfurled their wings, and searched for a mate. Their drive to procreate sent them into the trees.
I was the mother of grade school kids when they last appeared. I didn’t stop to hear them. Instead, I stopped our cocker spaniel from eating them. I saw the kids off to school, drove to work, made dinner, and never gave them another thought. Now I hear many messages in their calls. Mostly, as they begin to die, I hear them ask, “Where will you be in seventeen years when we return?”