In the Chicago area an extraordinary phenomenon takes place every 17 years. I remember, as a child growing up in Michigan, my mother telling me of "locusts" invading her home town in the Chicago suburbs. They literally had to clean up the carcasses with snow shovels. This sounded fantastical to me. Later, we moved there and in 1973 I was finally able to witness the event. I missed 1990 but made a deliberate effort to see this year's show in May-June 2007. These cicadas emerge from the ground, climb, and shed their shells. After they dry they are able to fly, make a deafening amount of noise, and mate. Eggs are laid along grooves in small tree branches. The adults die and the eggs hatch. The infant cicadas drop to the ground, burrow down, and live subterranean lives for the next 17 years! It's miraculous and most people find it very annoying. I find it fascinating. I'm not a particular lover of insects (spidersyikes!) but I find these big harmless, lumbering bugs almost loveable. They make me pause and ponder: "What will I be like when these strange creatures emerge next time? Will I be around to see them again?" Certainly! See you in 2024!

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See Cicada Central for more information.