Thursday, April 8, 2010

As I warned you, I have relocated my archives, and you will be punished. This is from a few years ago, 5 I think, during the last cicada invasion.

I noticed this morning that the cicadas were gone, (Thank God!) for another 17 years. And yet, it has left me slightly melancholy. This was my third cicada invasion, and kind of like a walk in the Seven League Boots, 17-year cicadas create a long distance, but short coupled, time frame.

For folks who aren’t familiar with the story of the Seven League Boots, those who wore them could travel seven leagues, about 21 miles, in a single step. My cicada memories travel 17 years in a single leap.

The first time I encountered these long-lived critters I was in grade school. My thoughts were wrapped up in baseball cards, my bike and my friends. Cicadas were a new plaything to us- allowing them to walk up our arms, putting a string leash on one and taking him for a “fly”, and just the incredible number of them there were.

I was a child, and I had parents and grandparents that my world revolved around. My only responsibilities were to be in the house by dark, and to keep my room clean. School was behind me, and it seemed like forever before it would start again.

Cicadas were the news of the summer, and as far as my world was concerned, the only news.

The second time I was grownup. I had graduated from High School, done my time in the service, came home and got married. I was a young father, my oldest was two at the time; his brother a newborn, and the world had changed. I had the responsibility to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of my wife and sons.

I had no more time for cicadas than I did lightning bugs. I had watched my parents bury theirs, save for one grandfather; friends had grown up and drifted away. Not only did I not have time for the invasion itself, I neither had time nor interest in reflecting on the last seventeen years.

This time I do. I have buried a parent, gained more sons, and grandpa is still with us. Life is neither the struggle it was 17 years ago, nor as idyllic as it was 34. The cicadas were less a nuisance, and more wonder. Tracking their arrival; gauging the day when we would be covered in cicada casings; the excitement at spotting the first one; telling the kids about the last two seasons; I was again in awe of the wonders of nature.

What about the next time? I should still be a father, but will I be a husband or a son? Or a grandson? Or a grandpa myself? Will I be more comfortable, or less? Only time will tell; time gauged by the arrival of a bug from under the trees.

As a partial jump update, with 7 years down and 10 to go, there have been some changes, as to be expected.

Grandpa is still with us, and I have become a Grandfather myself, twice. One son is married and on his own. As of June 1 I will no longer have any children in Grade School, for the first time in 20 years.

In ten more years, I'll update this again.

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