Entomologist Cole Gilbert finds them "amazing." And after listening to him discourse about the species over lunch late last month, I think I understand why. Cicadas (Magicicada septendecim) -- like many of the species Gilbert studies -- are just plain weird.
I must confess that I was little troubled by a UN report this week that suggested that eating more insects may be just what we need to feed the more than 9 billion people that are projected to inhabit the planet by mid-century.
I watched my sons carefully to see if they were buying into mom's passionate ode to nature. The boys seemed to be warming up to the cicadas swarming around them when several flew up and landed on Connor. "Dad!" he yelled. "Get them off me!"
Maybe those demonic brooders aren't even now lurking just below the surface of the Earth, stretching their hexad limbs and blinking awake their millions of smoldering atomic eyes after their 17-year nap.
We Floridians are somewhat the butt of a running joke that the random, dangerous, and ass backwards things seem to happen here. Unfortunately, we tend to live up to this stereotype by constantly proving it true.
The world is waiting. Nature often provides us with mysterious happenings that fill us with sublime awe. Why do these cicadas come out only once every 17 years? Is that not a very odd cycle to keep track of? How do they do it?