Cicadas and Home

I wonder if Eve and Adam sat on a glider on summer evenings on their patio in the Garden of Eden and listened to cicadas droning their earnest August songs, thinking, feeling, “this is truly home.”

Yesterday was an unusually perfect day in Nebraska. August can be hot as blazes and humid as all get-out, but not yesterday, my day off. It was, in a word, “Ah!”

The sky was clear blue with fluffy little white clouds, there was a gentle breeze and the temperature topped out in the mid-70s. In the afternoon I found my way to our back patio with a glass of iced-tea, a bowl of round, ripe Bing cherries and a novel. We live in a townhouse with a walk out basement and a park-like common area just beyond our patio and our deck above it. From our glider, half secluded by a short fence and plantings from the sidewalk between our house and the neighbors to the west, I can hear the sounds of grandchildren playing with their grandparents in the community’s pool just up a short grassy rise beyond our back door.

Popping off the sidewalk and skip-hopping up the hill from behind me came a curly brown mop-haired, long-limbed, gangly boy, probably about seven years old, wielding a gnarly looking stick that was thick as his skinny arms and 2/3 as tall as he was. Behind him lumbered his dad, same hair (better kempt), same long limbs (less gangly). Dad carried one of those two-gallon plastic ice-cream buckets. “Off adventuring?” I asked. Dad turned, seeing me and laughed. “He’s hunting cicada skeletons.” He found one last week and now he’s searching on every tree and digging through all the lawn looking.” “Having any luck?” I asked. Dad chuckled and said, “We have two buckets full at home. What he’s going to do with them nobody knows!”

My oldest son is a music composer. When he was home in Nebraska one summer three or four years ago he recorded the cicadas and composed a piece incorporating their droning. Now he has a cicada inked on his forearm (or is it on his side and the snake is on his forearm?) no matter, cicadas make an impression on Midwesterners.

My husband Mike and I ate dinner up on our deck as the cicada symphony tuned up around us. The evening air vibrated and like sitting in one of those vibrating massage chairs, we breathed deeply and relaxed. Mike sighed and said, “Cicadas sound like home.”

I needed a day like yesterday. We all need those kind of slow days to breath in the goodness of God’s creation, to feast on the simple pleasures of iced-cold tea and round, ripe fruit, on little boys leading their daddy’s on cicada skeleton adventures and evenings serenaded with ancient symphonies by the cicada chorus. We all need to breathe and relax and allow God to recreate us, make us whole, and welcome us home.

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