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Kay Wade

a close up of a rock

They’ve been underground since 2011. That year, vertical slits cut into slender tree twigs were tell-tale signs of where Magicicada females had laid their eggs. Eventurally, eggs hatched, tiny nymph cicadas dropped and burrowed through decomposing leaves, and for the past thirteen years they’ve lived in the ground, slowly, slowly, growing. Soon, maybe today, nature observers will find ½” holes around the base of deciduous trees. (Look for their mud ‘turrets’!)  Soon, maybe tonight, the sun will set and those holes will be full of the Great Southern Brood of periodical cicadas, emerging from thirteen long years underground. In one acre there might be tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands: stout, inch-long insects, with wings.  Under dark cover they will climb trees and fence posts and your favorite rose bush and even you, if you stand still long enough. It’ll take them less than a week to start looking for love, or at least for sex, and that, according to our friends a little further down in South Carolina, is when things get noisy enough to call the cops. ~K

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