March of the Cicada

Posted: December 10, 2006 in Creative Writing, Environmentalism, Literature, Random Thoughts

As night draws to a weary close, day first flutters its heavy lids.   Dawn only just now begins to hint at the horizon with the barest smear of pale, powerless light held close against the dark line of distant hills.

It is hot here.  And not just the hot of a typical dog-day afternoon, but an oppressive blanket of wet, heavy heat that clogs the pores and bears down on you with the weight of a thousand unsought woes.  Some jungle critter, a bug of dubious purpose or relevance, heralds the coming dawn with a sudden deluge of sound, filling the tree tops with an undulating wave of noise as, by the thousands, they follow some unheard cue and are brought to life as one giant organism.  It is like “The Wave” at a football stadium; the sound, dim in the distance, rolls inexorably toward you until it washes by like a cataclysm.

And then all is silent…until the next time.   It is as though it were some giant weapon which, once fired, needs time to recharge; but the next volley is as inevitable as the tide.

It is like the sound of a hundred sticks ratcheting across a hundred picket fences, all at once.  It’s almost like a strange kind of warfare, as if they are using the only weapon they have to repel the human invaders on their domain.  Like some Chinese human wave or Banzai suicide charge, the sound builds to a crescendo until is slams against the bulwarks of my consciousness.

As always, though, the attack is repelled, and the sound fades back into the distance like a spent ocean wave, slithering back over the sand with nothing but a faint hiss and a few foamy bubbles to mark its passing.

It would be strangely hypnotic if not for the piercing cacophony of it all.  It is almost as if the trees themselves are making the noise, crying out about some brutal violation. 

But it’s really only just bugs.  Really.  Noisy.  Bugs.

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