Lisa Currie

By Lisa Currie

Oh no! They are back…the noisy, flying, molting, eating, red bug-eyed beasts that come out of the ground every 17 years to terrorize people who live quiet lives on roads that hum with incessant noises. I think I would rather have Arnold Schwarzenegger at my door telling me “I’ll be back.”

It’s the cicadae (also known as locust but not really). This is the year of the beast.

Run. Hide. Move. Get ear plugs. Nothing can save you now.

They will be coming out of the ground to a home and tree near you.

Really. Seventeen years ago, I remember the May afternoon that my son came inside to tell me that the ground outside was turning into a colander. I could not understand what he was saying, so we went to inspect. And sure enough, the ground all around the basketball hoop and along the walk in front of our house was riddled with holes, holes that were made from the inside out. Yeah! Thousands of little round holes dug perfectly between bricks. Thousands of little round holes dug from inside the ground, dirt pushed carefully and evenly to the miniature volcanic sides to allow the beast admission onto my property.

Then it started. The noise. Oh, my heavens, the noise of a million cicadae is far worse than traffic on U.S. Route 11 when there is an accident on Interstate 81. It’s worse than hundreds of crying babies. It’s worse than the sound of the dentist’s drill as it grinds, seconds before it hits your tooth. You know you cannot escape the noise of cicadae.

We could not open the windows. It was difficult to talk on the phone. The beasts were all around us.

And at dawn, their hard crusty shells would lie discarded and lifeless along the walk and on the picnic table. Our Toms Brook home became a cicadae graveyard. Totally disgusting.

Now the cycle will repeat itself. All those juveniles that have been in ground prison for the last 17 years, sucking the juices from my trees, are going to break free in search of a girlfriend.

Yes, and the girls they must pick are no better looking than themselves. In fact, they are larger and more disgusting with even larger red eyes. Thank heavens their lives are short.

I cannot imagine how traumatized I would be if they lived longer than six weeks.

It’s a sorry story to tell, this story of the cicadae infestation and the pending invasion. A sorry story indeed. But, I tell you my friend, this story must be told to protect those who are brave.

Toms Brook resident Lisa Currie is a professor of English as another language and an adviser at the Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. She has worked at The Shenandoah Valley Herald and various other newspapers in Virginia