Friday, June 15, 2007

Cicada Madness

Okay, I promise this will be my last mention of cicadas for a few more decades. I can't help but be completely amazed at these exotic-alien like insects that grace us with their presence once every 17 years. For those that aren't in the midwest, the cicadas are insects with big red eyes on the side of their heads and transluscent wings. At first they are scary looking and then you kind of warm up to them (at least I did). They are one of the most widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and remarkable (and often inescapable) acoustic talents.

I have been on the trail all week mountain biking and running to the symphony of the cicadas. It is so loud, I couldn't even hear my ipod so I turned it off and just took it all in. What a gift. I can't remember the last time they were here, but I know I will remember this time because I was doing something I love.

The truly amazing part to me is they only live for a few weeks. Trillions of cicadas live underground sucking the sap off trees for 17 years. They hatch and emerge out of the ground for only a few weeks. They climb up trees and transform themselves from nymphs to adults. The next few weeks of their lives are focused on their sole purpose - to reproduce. The males sing in chorus and the males and females take flight "to get to know one another better". The females lay their eggs in tree branches and then they die. The eggs hatch and the babies fall from the trees and burrow into the ground, not to be seen again for another 17 years.

I can't help but think life is short and you have to live like a cicada and make the most of the time you have here. I never thought a trail run with insects could be so profound, but I guess that is really what it is all about... Oh, and if you want to watch a cool video about it click HERE.

Happy Trails,


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