These waning days of summer show their age: today warmth and light won't
last 16 hours; here and there leaves run out of green; and there's a new sound
in the air.
Like a two-inch civil defense siren, it winds slowly up, crescendoes, then
tapers slowly off, so sharp a sound as to leave its imprint in the ear—a kind of
The bittersweet sound evokes, for me, the end of carefree boyhood summers,
a sad turn from natural impulses and rhythms to disciplines not my own.
Can you pick up the beat
of such cicadian rhythms?
And what a paradox: a sound so intense, so penetrating, it goes right through you. Yet it sneaks into city soundscapes so deftly that we barely notice, inhabiting the background like cricket strum or nighthawk's airy plea.
As I ride my bike along high, sunny river bluffs the shrill whines play leapfrog with me. At times, they flow together, one continuous sound as if from a single cicada flying along just above me.
I cross the bridge and return home on the other side—the shady side—where I notice there are fewer singers. Too cool here, I guess, for good vibrations.
Can you pick up the beat of such cicadian rhythms? Keep your ears open.
The most common cicada we have here in Minnesota is Tibicen canicularis,
also known as the dogday cicada, harvestfly or annual cicada.