Here at our little mountain homestead, we’ve been delighted to witness the emergence of the seventeen-year cicadas this past week. It’s remarkable to realize that when these cicadas went underground as newly-hatched nymphs seventeen years ago, my children were two and three years old.
It’s funny—I keep hearing people talk about how ugly the cicadas are. Maybe it’s just my odd sense of beauty, but I think that they are quite magnificent. Okay, maybe they look a little pale and strange when they first emerge from their shells, but after a few hours they have wings that look like stained glass in the sunlight.
They actually emerge twice—once as nymphs from underground, then as adults when they shed their shells, or more accurately their nymphal skins. I took these pictures of the hollow golden shells they leave behind, still clinging tenaciously to the leaf or flower or grass they first latched onto.
My dial-up connection won’t allow me to post all my pictures at once, so come back tomorrow for pictures of the adults after they’ve emerged from their shells. Yes, they’re rather pallid, pasty, and sickly looking at first. Who wouldn’t be after seventeen years underground? :-) But they change dramatically after only a few hours in the daylight. It is an amazing and miraculous transformation. Or, at least…I think so.