It’s the year of the cicada! Yes, all over the Northeast of the US we’ve been experiencing that most amazing insect alarm clock: the buzz of (and this is their real scientific name) MAGICICADA.
How do they do it? Can an insect larva really count to seventeen? Seventeen YEARS, and they all get it right? I don’t know if anyone knows. Let’s just call it… MAGIC.
I first heard the buzz of the insect alarm clock in (getting out the calculator…) 1962, when I was nine. Sounds about right. I remember the oddness of all these large bugs flying rather clumsily around, and the noise, and I was really glad they didn’t bite!
So this is my fourth Magicicada experience. Funny thing is, I don’t even remember the last one, in 1996. Not as many in Massachusetts I guess.
So what can the insect alarm clock teach us humans? Well, I remember the “stopping to think about Life” experience I had when I turned 50. I soon realized that looking at the big picture, this culmination of the human journey that we’re living through was occurring rather neatly during the century 1950-2050. This time span appeared to be the window humanity had to turn the corner to a totally new way of doing things. So if we look at the Northeast cicada brood as timekeeper, they have been and will be sounding the alarm six times in that century.
The number four bell has rung! Do you think we are two-thirds there?
Sobering… or hopeful?