Then each one of us, […] will move back out on the pitch-black porch and let the body heat of the day leech from the house and our own bodies out onto the night, its billion singers—tree frogs, cicadas, the deathless crickets, the high whine of bats–” Renyolds Price, Outdoor on the Porch
This bean has recently fallen under the spell of cicada music. As the day’s last light falls, she wanders from Grandma’s porch into the front yard to explore the emerging sights and sounds of twilight… she seems most intrigued by cicadas, which the Bean Girl sometimes refers to as bicadies.
She hears their song—verging on deafening—but she doesn’t see them. Perplexed, she returns to the porch, peppering Uncle Jack and Aunt Allison with questions. What are cicadas/bicadies? Where are they? Why do they make that noise?
We dig deep to share what we remember about the insect. In the winter, they live underground. After many years, they are ready to come up and spend time in the trees. Cicadas have wings. When Uncle Jack gets technical, Bean Girl makes her way back to the yard, swatting at oak and hickory trees with sticks. She hopes to lay her eyes on a cicada.
Her precocious exploration sparks my own inquiry. What do cicadas teach us? I recall that they are a beloved symbol of Provence. They spend years underground before seeking the sunlight. 19th century poet Frédéric Mistral even granted cicadas their own motto: the sunlight makes me sing.
That light is slipping through our fingers. The evening air is heavy, but we feel autumn coolness pushing up against these last days of summer. As Bean Girl searches the yard, we settle deeper into our spots on the porch and sip the last of the rosé, engulfed in cicada song.