Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Upon departing Houston Steve’s place a few evenings ago - we had just finished our regular Poker Night - we noticed a strange beast alight upon a fencepost:

Just-Molted Cicada
Out of my skin over you: a just-molted cicada rests after clambering out of its old skin.

No, it’s nothing sexual, despite appearances... simply a newly-molted cicada having just emerged from its old skin.

When we lived in Houston, August days were marked with the constant thrumming of cicada-song, a science-fictiony drone that reverberated from every tree. Cicada skins, hollow and sere, could be found attached to almost any surface: tree trunks and branches, walls, bricks... anywhere the little guys could find purchase with their tenacious little claws.

And I still remember SWMBO’s younger brother Morris William, a mere sprat of nine years when I first met him - the same age his son is today - taking cicadas and tying their forelegs together with fine thread. Thus tethered, they would fly in circles around him until they were exhausted... or until he tired of playing with them.

There is a certain attraction in the idea of one being able to shed one’s old skin and to begin life anew with a tender new exterior, one that is not hardened by years of struggles. We can do it only in the metaphorical sense - it is one of the beauties of the Jewish Day of Atonement - but the cicada does it literally, several times in its brief lifespan.

And then, tender and vulnerable, it gets eaten by a fucking bird. Hey, that’s life!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Madison found a cicada on the way out from her school recently. She kept "Zucada" in a box with leaves and water, fed it maple syrup, and took it with her everywhere she went...until Zucada passed. She cried and we all said nice things about Zucada, graveside in the back yard. She wept for her buggy friend.

-Morris William