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Monday, April 18, 2016

Singing cicadas: Insouciant immortality

17-Year Cicada    (Public Domain)
When humans get buried in the ground, it’s usually for good.  Cicadas, however, aren’t bugged by a little thing like that.  They tend to emerge, better than ever.

Their 17-year emergence is just about due in America’s Northeast.

CNN reports that soon “billions of the critters will make themselves heard in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia once the soil where they lives warms up to 64 degress Fahrenheit.”  This will be as noisy as the presidential candidates, but with songs much sweeter.

Songs so sweet, in fact, that visitors from China, Japan and Europe will arrive just to hear them.    The Japanese associate cicadas with the insouciant summer season, whereas the Chinese associate them with immortality and rebirth.

Cicadas have their practical value, as well.  They were eaten in Ancient Greece, and are currently consumed in China, the Congo, Latin America, Burma and Malaysia.  Wikipedia reports that cicada shells are “employed in traditional Chinese medicine.”   


Copyright April 18, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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