The Sound of Cicadas
When I was growing up, I used to listen to the sound of the cicadas in our back yard. It’s the sound that I associate with the hot days and evenings of summer.
Yesterday morning, as I was hiking the last few miles of Maine’s 100 mile wilderness, I came to an open area in the woods called Rainbow Ledges. The profile of Mount Katadhin loomed largely through the haze. It is amazingly big, even from 20 miles away.
But what really caught my attention was the sound of a single cicada. It is a clicking sound, quite unlike the throbbing hum of the massed cicadas in the trees around me. It reminded me of the sound of the baseball cards we use to clip to the spokes of our bicycles when I was young.
Male cicadas make this sound by flapping their wings against their exposed exoskeleton. It seems to take a lot of energy because this fellow would hop up into the air, fly about 10 feet clicking away, and land to rest for a few minutes in between flights.
It got me wondering. Why does the sound of massed cicadas sound different from the sound of one? I don’t know.
It’s moments like these that I savor on backpacking trips. When my wonder of the world around me becomes more absorbing than my other thoughts about the past or future, I know I’ve reached my destination.
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