Sunday, May 22, 2011
Things out in our yard are downright buggy. The trees and the air and everything else are alive with Swarm XIX, the thirteen-year cicadas. The decibel level is around 85, just below the noise level of heavy downtown traffic. I personally think it's louder. I tried sitting on the porch the other day and the sheer volume of their metallic, castinette-like rattling drove me indoors in a hurry. They are even loud indoors with all the windows and doors shut. The cats are fascinated. The dogs eat them.
I braved going out in the cloud of them flying around the yard this afternoon to check on my green beans, parsley and basil. The beans are doing OK, the basil is struggling and the parsley seems pale and poorly in spite of all the soil amendment I shoveled into that bed last month. Next to the weakly parsley I saw a small depression about the size of half a large orange. Something was struggling in the bottom of it, something shiny, with legs. A biggish something. Not a cicada -- a really big beetle! A beetle surely designed by a 5-year-old girl, with metallic hot pink shoulders and metallic green wings and big red eyes, a squarish, sturdy beetle, but with definite style. The beetle was doing a serious imitation of Sisyphus without a rock. Or maybe doing a serious impression of Sisyphus' rock itself, climbing up to the lip of the crater and rolling back to the bottom, shaking off the dirt and trying again. Climbing up, rolling down. Up, down, endless effort with no reward. Exhausting to watch. Sort of like housework.
I went in and got Laura to come out to take a look at him. "June bug," she pronounced. "June bug?" I asked? "June bug." It was settled. "Will it eat my garden?" I asked "Yes." "Then I won't help it." She went back inside to eat her lunch, which I had interrupted with my demand. I stayed out and watched the little guy struggling up and rolling back for a minute or two.
I would have helped him if he wasn't going to do in my measly parsley and struggling basil. Of course, he might prefer the really lush and over-growing mass of oregano over to the right. There's plenty of that to go around.
Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth. Twenty percent of all living things are beetles. God must like beetles a lot to have made so many of them. The number and variety of beetles alone would have sunk the ark.
I'm kind of hoping that shiny fellow makes it out of the hole. Determined little guy...
photo credit: cicada: EduPic Graphic Resource