Yes, that is the question – and it’s a question I didn’t even knew I had until a recent Monday night Twitter conversation.
A few times over the summer, I’ve participated in The Garden Chat, a group of gardeners who “meet” in the Twitterverse to discuss gardening, ask gardening questions, share garden photos — it’s kind of like an old-fashioned neighborly talk over the fence, only the fence is really, really big.
Photo courtesy of Reuters.
Just a few months ago, there was a lot of noise about the emerging Brood II Cicadas, the one that emerges every 17 years. I was thrilled with the news because I happen to love Cicadas — maybe not the insect, but the sound! Yes, the sound — because nothing screams summer like the shrilly screech of Cicadas.
And then came the end of the news reports: Long Island was not included. Apparently, this brood’s parents decided 17 years ago that Long Island was no place to spend their summer season.
This doesn’t mean that Long Island is suffering from Cicada silence. We have our share of these noisy buggers — it’s just that, well — it’s like that old saying: Always a brood maid, never a brood.
In celebration of this beautiful noise, I’m revisiting a post that nicely summed up my cicada love.
Hi, August. It’s me.
Listen, I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. I’m just going to dive in and let you know . . .
It’s over between us. I know I waited until the end of your days to tell you this, but I was really hoping you and I could have worked things out – maybe come to some sort of agreement on the nature of our relationship. That seems to be out of the question now.
Each year, I hope to look forward to your arrival, but you are very skilled at trying my patience – and as quickly as my expectations rise, you find every opportunity to walk all over them.
Take my impatiens. Please. When I first saw that they weren’t thriving, that their stems were barren of leaves, I blamed myself (not enough water). Then I blamed the slugs (they had to be munching all night). And then I learned about the fungus. Maybe you didn’t create the fungus, but your heat, humidity, and rain games certainly didn’t help.
I’m still in South Florida, waiting for my car to be fixed. The mechanic informs me that the transfer casing needs to be replaced and there is only one brand new part in the entire country and GMC cannot locate it. There is, fortunately, a used part in Orlando that has arrived and just needs to be installed.
My mind is worried about my New York garden and the clean-up that is waiting for me there. Three weeks is an awfully long time to be away, and I’m sure that there is mowing and weeding and staking to be done.
And my heart and prayers are in Colorado. It seems silly, doesn’t it? To be worried about car repairs and gardening when there is so much pain and absolute sadness surrounding the tragedy in Aurora. With each news update, I long for simpler times. Innocent times. Times when evil didn’t walk into a movie theater — or a school or a mall or a military base . . . and the only sounds to be heard came from life.
It’s positively steamy outside. I’m watching the sprinkler water the zinnias on the far side of the pool, and completely drowning out the sound of running water is the non-stop, rapid-fire droning chirps of the Cicadas. Some might consider the sound a nuisance or torture, but I find the chirping can trigger memories and it sparks my imagination.
As a kid, we always incorrectly referred to these buzzers as locusts — but no matter what we called them, no sound reminds me more of the dog days of summer than the Cicada’s song. It’s like a sizzling sound effect, perfectly accentuating the sun’s rays scorching the garden. A never-ending sizzle, that forces me to stand as still as the hot, humid air. As one chorus whines to an end, another starts up, and so on and so on.
It seems that quite suddenly, summer has brought the entire world into bloom — and that means hosting a whole bunch of guests to a bloomin’ banquet. There’s plenty to eat and drink — so, bring a chair, sit back, and relax.
First up: butterflies. I’m not sure what type of butterfly this is, but the garden is full of them. They really don’t socialize with the other guests, and can often be found in pairs, fluttering about in mid-air and playing among the lavender.
Have you ever caught yourself looking so ridiculous that you say to yourself, “I’m glad I’m not the subject of a hidden camera show.”
That is my thought each morning as I leave the house, walk to the car, and feel the silky threads of spider webs across my face. And this morning was no different, as I tried to balance my briefcase and tote bag while frantically wiping the sticky filaments away — only to feel them invisibly drag across my ears and into my hair.
When I remember to, I’ll leave the house empty handed – so I can walk to the car swinging my arms in front of me like a malfunctioning robot to knock down any webs that might be at face level. Then I’ll walk back to the house, grab the brief case and tote bag, and race back to the car before the little buggers have a chance to reload. (I suppose a broom handle could accomplish the same thing, but that would look odd — wouldn’t it?)
I’m good when it comes to bugs. For the most part.
I mean, I generally do not become hysterical when I cross paths with a 6- or 8-legged creature. In fact, there are some bugs I actually enjoy. I’m captivated by a trail of ants going about its journey; I love the sultry summer chirp of cicadas; I’m totally in love with praying mantis; I’m mesmerized by the flicker of lightning bugs; I’m completely overjoyed by the arrival of a butterfly (which is why it received top billing); and when it comes to bees, we have a firm understanding. I’ll let them do their work, if they let me do mine.