Cicada Country

A cicada emerges from pupation. Photography by D'Arcy Allison-Teasley. Music by Incorporal Air. 

Cicada Country
(a memory of my hometown)

Summer mornings I often found gargoyles newly risen from subterranean sleep.  They would climb the fence before the heat rose and then, their pupal shells splitting down the back, emerge from themselves in a final molt.

They sunned their crimped, wet wings, their greens drying and browning to match the short grass. Then they'd leave their shells on the weathered wood and take flight.  I wouldn't often see them after that, but some days when I woke they'd been screaming so long it sounded like silence. 

That arid country had, thanks to humans and their imported trees, become the cicadas'.  They marked the territory with their bullet-hole burrows, their discarded shells.  One morning I found a wing on my porch making a filigreed gesture of light with its veins.  I held it to my eye like a monocle to see it slice the world into raindrops.


  1. Love cicadas. :> Had thousands of them here just before rainy season, yet I never actually saw them emerge from the ground.

    Also, was reading recently about an Australian katydid that feeds on cicadas- it lures them by mimicking their calls. The amazing thing is, in an experiment, the katydid was succesful in luring cicadas from all over the world and not those that coexisted with it only!

  2. That is amazing. I once interviewed an entomologist who could identify grasshopper species by sound alone. Their songs were that distinctive. I don't know about cicadas but I'd guess their songs vary between species as well. I know the ones I hear in Wisconsin (like the one in D'Arcy's photos) aren't nearly as loud as the ones I grew up with in Oklahoma, which were also more robust and less colorful.

  3. I wonder if they're as loud as the ones we have here. :> I hope I see one one of these days so I can take a pic for u.

  4. Pictures always gratefully accepted!


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