Seventeen Year Itch

May 15, 2016

Imagine the Cicada who does not want to arise after seventeen years of slumber.

‘I just got to sleep five years ago…’ 

     ‘I was in a dream with this chick who had these great mandibles…let me go back and pick up where I left off…

This is our brood, dude, wake up…

‘What’s in it for me?’

We crawl up top…shed our exoskeletons…wander around naked sucking sap and mating…’

‘I’m in…’

And then we die.

     ‘I liked the first part better.’

The native Americans used to roast us and eat us.  But those folks are mostly gone.

     ‘Glad to hear that.  Did we survive Y2K?’

Yes, but Arabs from Saudi Arabia destroyed the World Trade Center Towers.

‘What did we do about that?’

We invaded Iraq.

‘Must have been a Republican administration.’ 

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our next president in 2017.

     ‘I’m going back for some shut-eye.  See you in 2033…’


So the cicada resurgence is all about ‘prime numbers’.  Remember those?  Three times seventeen?  (in the South it’s a thirteen-year cycle…) Nature is full of vast cycles that challenge our comprehension.  I find that comforting.  Sure, we figure out as much as we can, but there remains so much we don’t know that we still appreciate a tree, a flower, a spring storm, with wonder and awe.

Where were you the last time they were thrumming for mates in the trees and drilling holes in the ground?

Where will we be in seventeen years?

Will Bruce Willis still be starring in action movies?

By then Mark Walberg and Canye West will be on oxygen tubes with back-pack defibrillators.


This sleepy locust is enjoying his time in the sun.

Hope you are too!

We do the best we can while we have the opportunity.

Horticulture is a great start.


Mark Gilson