This year was so much louder than most years, 2015 was a confluence of several groups of cicadas that come out in staggered years. For many the sound of cicadas is something they hear briefly during the summer or only on the television as a much used sound effect. The sound for me is familiar because I have typically lived an area in the country where they live in numbers. But wow, when I say numbers, it was like nothing I had seen or heard before. If you weren’t indoors, you could hear them anywhere, not background noise, it was in your face invasion sounds. They were here and there was nothing you could do to avoid them. Just walking outside nowhere near the woods, you could hear them. Driving in your car with the windows up, you could hear them. Walking into work I was regularly dive-bombed by the pesky insects. You could not avoid them.
Now back to my story in the woods. I made a pilgrimage to a wooded area specifically to experience the absolute madness of being amongst the alien creatures in their environment. Of course I used this little adventure to partake in one of my favorite activities, disc golf. I figured while I was out I might as well have some fun. So, when I arrived, I gathered my toys and walked toward the woods, the noise was already intense. Entering the tree line the volume grew and it changed, they were now all around me. It was like adding a surround sound stereo system to your theater room. The detail was something entirely different; I could hear more of the true sound and not just the distant drone of listening to thousands of the cicadas in unison. I stood there, deep in the woods and listened. It was amazing. Their song moved in waves around me and I couldn’t hear anything else. I felt it. As I walked through the park the sound constantly changed, morphed into something new; a great experience.
As the title tells, the ground was littered with the carcasses of cicadas everywhere. The life span of a cicada is not very long and they have been very busy in their short lives. They spend most of their lives underground, waiting for the time to emerge. After years underground they emerge to live their short lives and do they make a party of it. Clearly announcing we are here to the world or at least their mates. As I write this the last of the great masses is dying off, another generation come and gone. I look forward to the next time we have a great cicada year. We hear them every year in Kentucky but this year was something special. I cannot remember a year like it in my life so far. Maybe I will be around for the next great convocation of cicadas. Now as I walk through those same woods the sound is feint but I am reminded of their presence, not by their bodies which are disappearing, but by their skeletons, actually skins, they leave behind. They are everywhere, littering the ground and hanging from leaves and branches. For me, an army of the undead; perfect molds of their bodies, sitting and staring at you, reminding you of one thing…we will be back one day. And yes, I will be happy for just that.