Friday, May 25, 2007

Garden Interrupted

I am a gardener first, not an entomologist, but the 17-year periodical cicadas, known affectionately as Brood XIII, have a way of getting your attention. Therefore, in addition to my garden stories-glories, I will be covering these winged beauties.

Chicago has gone cicada crazy--local advertisers are having cicada sales--and flying around television screens with their heads pasted to buzzing cicada bodies. Schools, the forest preserves, and towns are throwing cicada festivals, cicada eating contests and parades. Morton Arboretum is hosting cicada lectures and programs for children to build cicada toys and noise makers. The Field Museum is featuring a special exhibit on cicadas. The Lake County Forest Preserve has a Cicada Mobile which is making special appearances throughout the county.

Meanwhile residents, especially in the older tree-laden suburbs, are bracing for bug-infested cookouts and noise pollution as the sex-starved male cicadas roar as loud as a motorcycle upon reaching their 17-year climax. After the mating frenzy, residents can look forward to piles and piles of dead and smelly bugs as the little guys meet their maker.

Seventeen years is a long time, some things change, some don't. There's still a Bush in the White House and the Chicago Cubs still haven't won a World Series. Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been in and out of jail. Johnny Carson was still hosting the Tonight Show, seventeen years ago. Bill Clinton served two terms as president during the past seventeen years and may be returning to his old Pennsylvania Avenue address via Hillery in the next seventeen years.

How old will you be in seventeen years? How old were you seventeen years ago? What will you be doing? Celebrate nature, celebrate the cicada and follow their misadventures via this blog.

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