Summer Night  Their song, although rhythmic, could be thunderous at times as their voices rise and fall in perfect unison.  It’s a familiar song, one I’ve heard all my life, but if you’re not really listening, despite its decibel, you won’t hear it.  It’s the song of Summer.  The Cicada Song.

Cicada  It’s an odd phenomenon, really, and almost impossible to determine where the sound is coming from as it surrounds you.  Stranger still, the Cicadas seem to be invisible, but judging by the sheer volume of their song, it seems as though they many number in the thousands, which is somewhat terrifying.  Amazingly, one Cicada can produce up to 120 decibels, and if the Cicada were singing directly into your ear, it could cause permanent hearing loss, so maybe their numbers aren’t as great as they sound.

Cicada Tymbal  Cicadas, unlike crickets, do not produce sound by rubbing certain body parts together.  Instead, male cicadas have tymbals – a “noisemaker” on each side of the abdomen.  As the muscles contract, a “click” sound is made.  Likewise, another “click” is produced when the muscles relax.  A song is thereby performed by rapidly vibrating these muscles.  There are mating songs, courtship songs, and distress calls, all unique to the cicada, but perhaps not to our ears.

Late August Sunset  These cicadas aren’t part of the 17 year brood that plagued our area about 8 years  ago.  Instead, these are the annual cicada, also known as the “dog day” cicada, who emerge in late Summer to serenade us to the season’s edge.

Enjoy their song while you can.  Another of life’s simple pleasures.

“Nothing in the cry of cicadas suggests they are about to die.”

-Matsuo Basho

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney