“In the South, the periodical cicada has a breeding cycle of thirteen years, instead of seventeen years in the North.  That a live creature spends thirteen consecutive years scrabbling around in the root systems of trees in the dark and damp – thirteen years!  In the dark of an April night the nymphs emerge, all at once, as many as eighty-four of them digging into the air from every square foot of ground.  They inch up trees and bushes, shed their skin, and begin that hollow, shrill grind that lasts all summer.  I guess as nymphs they never see the sun.  Adults lay eggs in slits along twig bark; the hatched nymphs drop to the ground and burrow, vanish from the face of the earth, biding their time, for thirteen years.  How many are under me now, wishing what?  what would I think about for thirteen years?

And under the cicadas, deeper down than the longest tap-root, between and beneath the rounded black rocks and slanting slabs of sandstone in the earth, ground water is creeping.  Ground water seeps and slides, across and down, across and down, leaking from here to there minutely, at the rate of a mile a year.  What a tug of waters goes on!  There are flings and pulls in every direction at every moment.  The world is a wild wrestle under the grass: earth shall be moved.”    Annie Dillard ~ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


About Randy J. Arnold

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2 Responses to

  1. haphazardmusings says:

    Who knew how fascinating and beautiful cicadas could be?

    • Randy J. Arnold says:

      I have seen more cicadas this year than ever before. They are beautiful and bizarre creatures. Yet another sign that summer is approaching.

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