10 August 2010

The roar of summer

After nearly 5 years, I am living through a midwestern summer again. The sound of the cicadas here is deafening this August. It's probably been this way my whole life but after being away the sound is incredible.

For those of you who have not experienced in cicadas, they are one strange bug. As a kid, we called them locust, I don't know why and I don't think that's related. They make a distinctive roaring all through the day and night during August more or less.

As a kid I mostly knew the crunchy exoskeleton thing that the cicadas hatch out of to their winged noisy selves. The funny shells they leave behind on tree trunks and fences. They are exceedingly satisfying to crunch under your shoe (they're empty).

I've never, ever seen the cicada inside the shell only in their fully winged rattly buggy noisy existence. They seem to rattle if you find one on the ground and poke at it. If you get 1,000 of them in a tree outside your bedroom window (I don't know the numbers, but it sounds like a lot), you almost need earplugs to sleep.

There's an area in the south of France called Provence, a major tourist destination, full of lavender by summer and villages that squeeze the cute out of you. They have turned the noisy cicada into their mascot and sell lovely little ceramic versions of it in every village and shop. Kansas and Missouri don't seem to have gotten around to making our cicadas a tourist attraction - yet.


  1. About 10 minutes after I posted this, it sounded like someone was tapping on our back door. Yes, a cicada. Kerry brought it in - sooooo loud!

  2. I had never really experienced the cicada noise until we moved to our current house. The sound in early to mid August is indeed deafening. I'm listening to it now.

  3. I don't notice it that mcuh here, but we also have a noise machine! ;) It sounds like it's raining all the time!