Just in case you’ve managed to not hear the cicadas yet … we are, perhaps, nearing a peak of Brood X here. Today was very noisy, indeed. If you weren’t deep inside a well-insulated building they could become part of the general soundtrack of any given moment.

You’d need to break out some proper field recording equipment to do it justice, I assure you. And in that area, which is on a section of campus that was developed 100-plus years ago, it sounds like you can hear different dialects of cicadas in the trees.

So far in the last few weeks I’ve only had two or three land on me. Each has been far less traumatic than when it happened to me as a child. I don’t remember my young age or the year, but one just flew in and settled on me, in that most cicada way. It was upsetting, that’s what I remember.

It’s been interesting, riding my bike around, how some places seem to have great concentrations of cicadas and others seem to have none. I’m sure there’s some good entomological answer.

Let’s ask the shadow of someone who took an entomology class 25 years ago:

Experts think it has something to do with urban developments since the brood went into hibernation. Maybe older neighborhoods had less soil disturbance in the intervening years. Tree reduction, cement and asphalt addition, are very impactful on the local population’s health. Maybe, also, it has to do with chemicals we put into the earth. Maybe it’s a combination of things, or other natural features, but it’s still something of a mystery. Where you see them is close to where the best part of them went into the soil in 2004, they don’t seem to go far.

And it was a different time back then, no one thought to ask them back then.

That’s what my shadow said on my bike ride today. I heard a lot of them. Saw a few. But none of them landed on me in two hours in the saddle. For which I am grateful.

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