An interesting feature of this morning's bike ride, with the air heavy and humid with foreboding bets of later storms (paid off this afternoon, may have vid later), was that the cicadas were having trouble getting started.
It was like homeowners facing the year's first lawnmowing with last year's gas; I'd hear rrrdt, rrrddt, pop-pop-pop and then silence; a little down the trail, rr-rrrdt, rrr-rrdddt, splutter, rrrddtt-dddt-dtt-dt-t... I could almost hear tiny voices cussing.
I was picturing minscule, green/black troll-like creatures, wearing old-fashioned aviator caps and goggles, with hang-glider cloaks and gasoline-powered accordions (or bagpipes?*) they were trying desperately to get started: "C'mon, dammit! It won't be a late-summer day without us," as he gives the starting cord another yank and the thing coughs and sputters, "Consarn it, start! Holy cow, I won't get paid if I don't play -- I won't be able to get a date!" (A topic of vital concern to cicadas, who typically get just the one chance every seven years.)
On the way back, at least one of them had managed to get his instrument, er, voicebox (stridulator?) running, and was making a song about half-way to the other sound cicadas make, trilling up and down with what I thought might be a note of relieved triumph.
* It could be argued that the accent fits -- and I have to point out the local breed bear colors suspiciously similar to Black Watch tartan.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
6 months ago