|The Cicada, after its Emergence (Before)|
|The Famous Shell of the Cicada (After)|
Something's coming; something good.
If I can wait.
Tony - the male lead from the play West Side Story appears early in the first act, singing his song of anticipation. Of course, the something that is coming is a mixed blessing - he meets Maria at the dance, falls for her, plans to run away.
It all ends somewhat badly for Tony.
Thought of this when I read today that at any moment, those of us on the east coast will experience the re-emergence of the cicadas, after 17 years underground. These little insects bide their time for 17 years, and then, on cue, when the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees, burrow up seeking mates.
The last appearance of this group was in 1996.
For the course of a week or so, the trees will be alive with the chattering calls of male cicadas, hoping to attract their own femmes fatales for what are truly les liaisons dangereuses. Most will be eaten by birds, frogs, or other creatures before they can fulfil their destinies. For the lucky few, upon finding their mates, will die soon thereafter.
Entymologists have several explanations for the reason of the periodicity. Some believe it is due to an evolutionary mechanism to foil would-be predators. Others believe the timing is to ensure that broods (there are different "waves" of cicadas) do not compete with one another.
I find it remarkable that these little creatures seem so perfectly designed, so patient. Waiting for all those years for a couple of days in the sun.
All for love.