Heard the first cicadas of the year this afternoon and wondered what I was doing when this brood entombed itself, a living time capsule, a few inches below our feet. In other parts of the country they know their cicadas better than we do here in Florida, so I can only speculate. Maybe I was in Gainesville, playing in bands and going to shows–but mostly just wandering the aisles at Walmart. Maybe I was standing at a door machine at a Jacksonville lumber yard, dreaming nothing, day to day. Maybe it was just last year, and I was pecking at keys on a tiny screen, just like now, when I should have been sleeping instead. I don’t know. We don’t know our cicadas here.

If you live somewhere north of here, you can be more precise. This year’s brood up in South Carolina, down into Georgia, and across the broad freeway-crossed South laid itself down at the dawn of the new century, in 2000. Who knows how I would have been if I had been raised a Georgian, Carolinian, or Kentuckian, but I like to think of myself down in the sprawling suburbs of North Florida posing for the yearbook with pink hair and a tie knotted well above the neckline of a T-shirt just as the magicicada were burrowing below.

Wherever you are, cicadas are a link to the past. Springs and summers past; burrows dug and uncovered again.

It’s entertaining to imagine myself a teenager again, but what must these poor baffled insects think as they emerge into this spring and look at what we’ve done to the world their parents left in our hands when they burrowed below? Talk about woke.

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