Sitting down at the river at gloaming, glass of wine in hand- watching the deep gray, scudding clouds of the storm outskirt. The Cicadas are almost omnipresent, surrounding me in waves of sound that rise and fall like great aural tides. They seem to be in every oak tree there, and I am transformed and carried away by their song. Staccato and cacophonous, I am surrounded by calls for a mate, calls about longing and the brevity of love and calls in the hope that their genes may enliven another generation. At one point, when I was equidistant between the house and the river, the 2 populations; one in the oak trees around the house, and the other an acre away in the oak trees at the river (they seem not to inhabit the swamp itself), matched each other in their crescendo, and I felt flanked by armies of stereophonic song. I have always been fond of these odd insects- from their final nymph instar, the dried skeletons left behind on the trunks of trees like glassine ghosts, to the adults- hard to catch and buzzing quite angrily when tried. My sister and I used to prize the nymphal skeletons and would wear them proudly on our shirts. The adults, also referred to as imago (what a lovely name), are a strange amalgamation of insectile tank, bulgy alien eyes and wings worthy of the most beautiful fairy. The ones currently singing in our yard are likely Tibicen auletes, also called the dusk-calling cicada. Cicadas (males only) produce their amazing loud sounds from structures called tymbals on the sides of the abdominal base. The ones in Florida live for about 3-5 years, with the majority of their life spent underground. The adults emerge in summer, and live brief but loud and glorious lives. Cicadas have been seen as symbols both of insouciance (very short lives) and reincarnation. The photos below are of an adult I captured just as it was dying.