Dog Day Cicadas are fascinating insects. I have held them in high regard my whole life, well since I was seven. I lived in Mississippi for three glorious years. I was foundationally impacted by my time spent lost in the woods on various adventures. One of my favorite pastimes was to locate a cicada or locust as they are commonly called. I would scout areas until I found one that had begun his shedding process. I knew they would not /could not fly away once they hooked into the pine bark and began their detaching.
The eyes would glow off and on and little by little with tremendous effort a locust would emerge from the crack in his shell. It was especially delightful to find one low down so I could sit and watch. It is not a quick show. For me it never got old. The wonder of it deeply impacted me and honestly it still does. It is bearing witness to a miracle of transformation. The two best parts were:
1. once it crawled out, the wings were wet and irridescent with glistening. They had to fan them slowly to dry. So I could get my curious eyes right over there and study them and whisper “You made it, you’re brand new now.” I loved that part.
2. When they were done, they got strength and left. I gathered the locust shells in my jar. For a while I would hang them on my shirt and wear them like jewelry. Students didn’t like them and told on the northener yankee kid and the teacher told me I was scaring the other kids. What a bunch of weirdo wussies!! It’s a bug shell dopey!
They looked like translucent empty bugs down to the claws and spikes. Anyway, I put them all in my ball jar and grew a big collection of them. Months later when I went to view them, there was only flakes of dust with a few legs . . . teaching me about the cycle of dust to dust. They are always a symbol of transformation to me and inspire me greatly. They also remind me that it’s hard work to transform.
And the VERY best thing is this good word out of the book of Joel 2:25
I will repay you
for the years the locust have eaten . . .
so far it’s been true, still waiting on a few more longed for outcomes in my life.
Oh and John the Baptist survived on honey and locust while out in the desert. I’d have to be pretty darn hungry to eat one, but good to know, right?
Charcoal and pastel 22 × 28″ Arches cover stock