The periodical cicadas of Brood XIX are starting to wind down around here. I believe there are just as many deceased cicadas on the ground and sidewalks than there are up in the trees.
Plus, we’ve had a slight snap of cool, rainy weather, and that hasn’t done them any good.
(Oh, it’s going to seem so quiet!)
It makes me rather sad to see the light go out in all that vibrant, buzzing, busy life. Even their eyes lose that brilliant red hue and turn dull brown when they die.
And the “haters” naturally use this as an occasion for even deeper disgust, complaining that the dead cicadas “smell bad.” Well? Look at it this way: They don’t smell nearly as bad as you would if your carcass was lying on a hot sidewalk!
But there is a kind of funky wet-dog smell to their bodies when they collect in a mass, especially after a rain. Ah, well.
The last time Sue and I were in San Francisco, we visited a shop in Chinatown that specialized in brush painting and calligraphy—both the artwork and the supplies. In addition to selling (and personalizing) chops (those carved stone stamps that Chinese artists use as seals, to sign their works), they sold miscellaneous other small stone carvings.
Being a fan of cicadas, I couldn’t resist picking up this little object. If you look at it with a certain miniaturized perspective, it’s kind of like an insect-sized monument to Brood XIX.
Well, I’m gonna miss them; seems like they just got started! I’m glad we took a lot of pictures!