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Periodic Cicadas Turning Up the Volume on the Soundtrack of Summer

Period cicadas are back in many states this year after a 13-year absence.

One of my favorite writers just happens to write for StrollerDerby—Meredith Carroll. And just yesterday, she posted an interesting little piece about the 13-year cicada, a species which has officially re-emerged in my area of the country. Cicadas creep Meredith out. And she’s not alone.

In fact, many consider them creepy. And the few who don’t? Well, they still don’t like them as words like “nuisance” are typically usually used to describe them, which officially puts me in the minority. I love the sound that cicadas make. They composed virtually every summer soundtrack of my youth, a couple more loudly than others. And this year, I’m fired up for my kids to hear them.

But, again, it seems like I’m in the minority. And that fact was reinforced not only by Meredith’s post but also by the Nashville-based newspaper, the Tennessean. Just listen to what Jesse Blazewicz had to say about them to the newspaper:

“They are kind of creepy because they are so big. They sit on the fence, they sit on the garbage can. But I’m not too worried about them because they don’t bother you.”

The Tennessean’s response Blazewicz’s assertion that cicada’s “don’t bother you”?

“As long as you don’t mind the bugs getting in your hair, your clothes and your mind with the constant and incessant drone that is the male mating call.”

Well, I’ve got news for everyone. The periodic cicada are back, whether you like it or not. That means many of the southern states can expect to see them and hear them a bit louder than usual for the next six weeks or so. And now that I really think back to 1998 (the last time the periodic cicadas made their appearance), I actually do remember them getting on my nerves just a little bit.

So why, I wonder, have I been so excited for my kids to hear them this year? My past association with them, perhaps?

Whenever I heard cicadas back in the day, my shorts had grass stains, my knees had scabs and the thick nighttime air that smelled of honeysuckle was filled with laughter. I spent just about every one of those nights playing night games with a likeminded band of 8-year-olds.

Kick the Can. Capture the Flag. Twelve O’clock Rock.

Sometimes, when I drive down the boulevard that parallels the lake, I reflect back on those nights and wonder where they went—wonder if I appreciated them as much as I should have. And as I do, I recall the summer soundtrack composed by the cicadas that was audible on virtually every one of those nights. Yet the soundtrack, nor their composer, ever bothered me.

Which makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I did appreciate those nights as much as I should have.

Which, perhaps, is why I can’t wait for my kids to hear the cicadas this year. For it will mean that their summer is upon them. And every summer needs a soundtrack. No matter who composes it and how loudly it’s played.

Image: Wikipedia

Make your own summer memories with help from Babble’s Summer Guide 2011!

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