LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
Cicada swan song
As a year-round cyclist, I tend to view seasons a bit differently than most folks.
I still acknowledge the recognized four, but I like to break each into smaller sub-seasons.
Invariably, bugs somehow play a part. Early spring is the start of mosquito season. Early summer: lightning-bug season. Mid-summer: keep-your-mouth-closed-lest-you-get-a-gulp-of-unexpected-protein season.
With a pang of sadness, I realized the other night we had all but reached the end of cicada season.
I know they did a Job on that dude in the Bible, and, if I were a farmer facing a plague of ’em flash-mobbing my crop, I might not be so inclined to turn a blind, multi-faceted eye to their destruction, but I really can’t carry a grudge where cicadas are concerned.
I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia whenever the vocal beasties crawl out of whatever cocoon keeps them alive every year. I rather enjoy cycling along in the middle of the night with their din as background, and though I do not think they’ll sing to me, I like to imagine they’re lining the road, cheering me up some alpine climb. Their song reminds me of summers past, the carefree days of my youth. Or something.
They do, however, create their own, unique challenges for two-wheeled travelers.
Cicadas are — and I hope not to offend any that might be perusing the Intertubes — rather clumsy. I consider them the dogs of the insect world: bumbling, kinda lovable, mostly harmless. The only difference is, I’ve seen many a good-looking hound, but never a cicada I’d call attractive.
I’ve had several fly up the legs of my shorts, or down my shirt, and it’s quite an experience. Those buggers are LOUD, and it’s less than enjoyable to have one buzzing and rattling around in your drawers.
I also had one get caught in the vents in my helmet, as I cycled down a relatively busy Lawrence thoroughfare.
It’s not an experience I recommend.
That said, I rolled up to an intersection the other night and was drawn to a glimmer of iridescence on the pavement. There I saw a cicada that had been crushed by the wheels of a passing car, and it made me surprisingly sad.
If that’s not a fitting image for the end of summer, I don’t know what is.