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ŠAugust 2003

Carol Jane Remsburg




Cicada Morning







The back porch is always a magnet on summer Sunday mornings.  It's a place where the light is kindly filtered through the tree branches as the sun rises slowly from the east.  This is the time we look forward to all week long.  My husband and I get to share quiet conversation over mugs of mellow coffee.  Sunday morning quiet time is watching the rest of the world wake up. 


This particular morning, the second to last Sunday in August, ought to have remained warm and steamy but a cold front had moved through bringing the temperatures down into the 50's.  Long sleeves and pants were the order of the morning.  The kittens romped about playing hide & seek.  They paused only long enough to stare at the stray mommy cat (their mother) with her new litter of kittens come to the porch door and cry for their breakfast.  The hummingbirds flitted from one red nectar feeder to another.  Their calls were solemn little chirrups we had to listen hard for compared to all the other birdsong. 


The morning began to warm enough for the cicadas to begin cycling up drowning out the birdsong and the noise of the highway traffic in the distance.  Some folks call cicadas locust, which they aren't; others call them katydids, which they aren't either.  Many old-timers call them heat birds which is most apt in description, for they sound their mating calls during the summer months when the heat is at its worst.


Many had morphed out of their shells the previous day and their wings had cured enough for flight and they were busy flitting from tree to tree and even to the clothesline.  It was time to try to catch a photo if I could.  Trusty camera in hand I took a walk through the backyard and my neighbor's backyard.  Many of the cicadas were too filled with the desire to find a mate to sit still for long and I was lucky to get one good shot after over a dozen attempts. 


Walking in your backyard normally has a purpose; whether to hang laundry or cut the grass or to retrieve a bicycle left out or something.  It is rarely a slow stroll of discovery.  This morning produced stunning sights on the smallest of scales.  The slanting sun's rays on a cicada shell high up in the tree that glowed golden.  A cicada thrumming lowly on a pillowcase that moved gently as it dried on the line.  Then there were the early but unmistakable signs of summer's end in my neighbor's garden.


Oh, the hibiscus is still flowering but the grasshoppers find it too delicious to leave alone for long.  My trees are still lush in their greenery providing gentle shelter. 


Many of the photos didn't turn out because either or my skills or the camera just didn't do it justice.  It gave me all the excuse I needed to go back out to take more, but the second time I did more looking and less clicking on the camera buttons.  I focused further on the fresh smell of the morning, the sounds so busy around me, and the soft touch of the breeze. 


The morning had taken on that quality of perfection in the small ways we take so for granted and I was able to partake of its quiet wonder.  There was not even a pesky mosquito or gnat that didn't find its business elsewhere.  The yard was left to the butterflies, the birds, and, of course, the cicadas whose song beckons us to stop and pay attention to what we are missing.


So, the next time you wander out your back door and hear a cicada call allow your feet to follow.  You'll forget about your chores for a brief time and follow them about as they zip from place to place looking for love in all the right places.



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