Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Singer in the Trees

Annual Cicada (Tibicen canicularis) 
A cicada's song is the quintessential music of July, a a sonorous vocal offering from a tiny jeweled being that sheds its nymph skin, climbs high into the light-filled trees and sings for a mere handful of days before expiring and returning to earth. It's a joyful and ecstatic element in the slow irrevocable turning of one season into another.

I often find abandoned cicada skins on the poplar trees in our Two Hundred Acre Wood, but I always feel blessed when I meet a newborn still clinging to its shell in all its pink and green splendor. Adults go dark within a few hours, but they retain lacy, darker green wings all the days of their lives. Only male cicadas sing, but oh, how they do sing.

Call it "cicada mind" and cherish the notion. Our task is one of cultivating just this kind of patience, acceptance, rapt attention and unfettered Zen sensibility, of embracing our allotted days fully and singing wherever we happen to be, then dissolving effortlessly back into the fabric of the world when the time comes.


Pienosole said...


Guy said...


I used to find the cast off shells as a child in Windsor they captivated me they seemed so primeval.


Steve Emery said...

I love cicadas, too - and katydids.

Cicada inspired this image:

In the late summer, here in North Carolina, if you go out at night and walk the streets with a flashlight, you can find large beetles, saturniid moths, and cicadas. The cicadas will be sitting quietly on the road. One quick way to know whether it's a male or female is to pick it up gently. The males sound off - it's like picking up an alarm clock and it starts ringing just then.