Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Blogger Idol, Week 10
Blogger Idol is the brainchild of Darren at LivingRoom.

Each Sunday (Australian time) Darren announces a theme for the week. We have three days to work that theme into a blog post. We post the entry in our own blog and leave a link in Darren's blog so we can read what each other wrote.

If you want to read the other entries, the links are here. blogger_idol-1.gif

I will read as many of the entries as possible. Later in the week I will list five entries of note.

This weeks theme is 'Childhood Treasures'.

Cicada Summers
Summer 1953. I was eight years old and the endless summer days were full of cicadas.

I was fascinated by the holes in the ground where they emerged from their long dark youth. I was excited by the big beautiful but scary looking fly like adults.

Picture of cicada and exoskeleton
From my Little Golden Book of Insects, another childhood treasure, I learned that the cicadas spend 17 years underground feeding on tree roots. Magically, they tunnel up from the ground on the seventeenth year, shed their drab brown exoskeletons, and become colorful adults.

The adults look like beautiful giant flies. They climb trees, make loud buzzing noises, mate, and lay eggs. The eggs hatch and the nymphs drop out of the trees and burrow into the ground for a 17 year feast on tree roots. The adults die, their 17 year cycle complete.

Most important to my childhood quest for cicadas, I learned they don't bite.

That summer the cicadas were everywhere. I caught them, heard them, watched them, and collected all the exoskeletons I could find.

One afternoon I was able to watch an adult split the back of an exoskeleton and slowly slip out into the world on a treetrunk just at my eyelevel. It was a very slow metamorphosis. It took every bit of childish patience I could muster to refrain from helping the cicada out of its shell.

I wanted that exoskeleton to add to my collection, my wonderful childhood treasure chest of shed cicada skins.

One hot summer day I got out a piece of paper to make some important calculations. How long would it be before I could have this much fun again?

1953 + 17 = 1970? Impossible! It was never going to be 1970!

1987? 2004? My eight year old brain couldn't comprehend ever reaching those dates.

Summer 1970. I was twenty-five years old and had recently given birth to my second child. We lived in an apartment in the heart of town. I never noticed the cicada summer that must have occurred.

Summer 1987. I was forty-two years old and life was very very busy. I had two teenage children, a job, a house, a full time demanding job, and a twenty-seven mile commute. We lived on a very small lot in the city. I never noticed the cicada summer that must have occurred.

It will soon be Summer 2004. I am fifty-nine and at leisure living in the wooded countryside.

The great-grandchildren of my childhood treasures are coming up out of the ground this summer. Lord willing, I will be collecting cicada exoskeletons with my eight year old granddaughter - as soon as she learns they don't bite.