The cicadas have landed. This is the 17-year cycle of cicadas. The Brood, they’re called. Tell me that doesn’t make you think of  horror movies.

I pictured Hitchcock’s “Birds.” I pictured “Damnation Alley:” hoards of fat, flesh-eating roach-like beetles spilling from walls, abandoned cars, closets, refrigerators, to leave only skeletons behind.

So, like good preppers preparing for the apocalypse, my spouse and I screened in the porch. We added a lock to a screen door, as if the cicadas would suddenly grow sentient and insistent. I had heard that there would be 200 cicadas for every 3 square yards, that the sound of the lawn mower would call them in: clouds of cicadas swirling around your head, latching on to your flesh with their little hooked claws…

The rains stopped. The sun warmed the earth. I waited. I watched. This is what emerged:

“17 year brood cicada emerging, looking like a rock star.”                                                            Photo credit: Danielle Amman Young

And, as it turns out, these monsters are kinda cute. They fly around making music. They land on your napkin and fall asleep. They don’t eat your flesh. They don’t even eat your plants. They’re just hanging out for a few weeks, buzzing around. Checking out the bright  lights big city. Swiping right, Tinder-style. Living large. Living their lives. Just trying not to get eaten.

It makes me think.

Maybe my fear of the cicadas (completely unfounded, and–to be honest–pretty underwhelming, as it turns out) like so many things we’re afraid of in life–just listen to the news, read the comments, watch your Facebook feed for all the stories that people tell you about what might happen, what could happen–like when the cicadas come …or, maybe, when we’re confronted with new ideas, or new people, or new ways of being and loving and existing with one another in the world.

Who, exactly, is the monster? And what, exactly, are we  so afraid of?



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