I spent my vacation last week in Mashpee, Massachusetts on Cape Cod and got to experience theÂ amazingÂ emergence of the brood XIV periodical cicadas.Â These fascinating critters appear every 17 years and make a big noisy fuss when they do.Â They are a nuisance, but not harmful.Â They have only appeared 23 times since the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth.Â The English colonists didn't know what to make of them. William Bradford wrote that in 1632 "there had been a quantity of a great sort of fly, as large as wasps or bumble bees, which came out of holes in the ground, filling all the woods, and eating the verdure.Â They made such a constant yelling noise that the woods rang with them, till they were ready to deafen the hearers."Â Yeah, those cicadas.
These cicadas are primarily in Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich and Plymouth. I was mesmerized and watched them with fascination for a full 90 minutes last Tuesday.Â They apparently emerge from the ground and climb up tree trunks and molt, leaving their casings to fly, awkward as teenage boys.Â And just like teenage boys, they do their best to impress the females of the species.Â Unfortunately their enthusiasm is often greater than their new-found ability and they crash into buildings and light poles and moving vehicles, leaving their plump, juicy bodies scattered about to feed the lucky birds.
AtÂ a shopping plaza the other day, a true gentleman stopped to extract a cicada hopelessly stuck in a woman's hair.Â Knowledge of these cicadas is variable.Â Coming out of a store, a woman looked up, tilting her head to one side, "What is that noise?" she asked.Â Just a few steps away, another lady sat on a bench and gazed into a nearby tree, remarking, "You know, 98% of their eggs don't survive."Â I dashed from the supermarket to avoid being pummeledÂ and landed on by the bugs.Â Because, despite my fascination, I cannot keep from startling with each contact.Â Thankfully, my husband doesn't have my jumpiness and was able to capture some video. (Look for it, tagged "cicada".)
A lot of things change over the course of 17 years, in our daily lives and the history of nations.Â Seventeen years ago the idea of a home computer seemed silly to me, but here I am today, typing away and sharing my experiences over this "internet" that has developed.Â Who knows what daily life will be like, and how world events will unfold between nowÂ and 2025?Â Things will probably beÂ much different than today, but the cicadas willÂ emerge just as they did back in 1632 and fill the woods with their sound.Â
For all the information you could possibly want on the Massachusetts Brood XIV Periodical Cicadas please visit: http://www.mechaworx.com/Cicada/masscic1.asp