Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Lot Can Happen in 17 Years

By Maureen Bonatch 

The 17-year cicadas have emerged in my area of Pennsylvania with a vengeance. I’d never really thought much about these winged insects that are sometimes referred to as a locust, and look a bit like a red-eyed grasshopper until they came out whining their shrill mating call that we hear from our home all day long.

The cicada’s lifespan is relatively short once they emerge from the ground, about 4-6 weeks, and the next big batch of them won’t return for another 17 years.

cicada photo taken by my cousin

17 years.

That’s a long time when you think about taking that long to develop just to release into the world. A little over seventeen years ago my twins were born. They graduate high school this week—ready to shed the shell of their teenage years and emerge into the world as young adults.

Trying out their caps and gowns

That, and the occasional hum of chatter between the twins that’s difficult for anyone to differentiate outside of teenage ears, are the only obvious characteristics between them and the cicadas. 

My twins are ready to start the next chapter of their story, while the mass quantities and volume of cicadas has many wondering about theirs.

As a native Pennsylvanian…

…I assumed most were familiar with cicadas, but when I asked others if they’d heard them and seen them, many—some not far from my house, but not in as wooded of an area—had not. Most found it interesting since it’s kind of a once-in-17-years kind of thing. 

So as some of my family gathered for a picnic last week, surrounded by the whine of cicadas that had my author’s brain whirring with stories of alien invasions, or other potential sci-fi stories featuring red-eyed creatures, we pondered just what the winged insect’s story. 

Here’s some information if you want to learn more about cicadas. Plus check out the video below of the sound of the cicadas from our deck (and the chatter of some of my family in the background).

As a romance writer …

…it seemed bittersweet that the cicada would emerge from the ground after 17-years to sing their mating song, lay their eggs, only to die a few weeks later. Hopefully they find that special someone who made it worth emerging from their underground home.

What’s Going on in Your Neck of the Woods?

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

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Nightingale said...

I enjoyed the whole post, but love the last thought about finding their soul mates in their brief lives.

Diane Burton said...

Such a great post, Maureen. Congrats to your girls as they leave one life to begin another. I have heard of cicadas and their 17-year cycle (I didn't know it was 17 yrs though). We don't have them in Michigan, that I know of. We have had the weirdest spring. Low temps, rain, and more rain (but not like Missouri and Oklahoma). All the Great Lakes have increased by several inches--considering how big they are, that's a lot of rain.

Lea Kirk said...

Maureen, I'd forgotten your twins are the same age as mine! This is a beautiful blog. Thank you. <3

Maureen said...

Thanks ladies! I really appreciate you stopping by!

Francesca Quarto said...

I too am a twin, but much cuter than my brother! Congrats on your own twins achievements. Hoping they listened to your wise words to guide them in life. I've always loved the cicada's call to attention! Sometimes I wish I could go underground for a few years, but I think it's better this side of dirt!

Francesca Q.