For the past week or so, our neighborhood’s been in the throes of a full-scale cicada invasion. They emerge every 17 years in Asheville — red-eyed beasties that flutter around with metallic iridescent wings. (They look like elaborate golden clockworks when the sun hits right.) They’re everywhere, and they’re loud. As I type this, it sounds like a siren or a car alarm is going off somewhere close by. The sound starts at dawn and then dies down at dusk, hitting full volume around mid afternoon. That’s also the hardest time of day to go out for a walk; the cicadas seem to be at their most active then and can plonk you in the head as they fly by.
I asked Lowell to snap these pics. I wish he had a panoramic lens to catch the sheer plenitude. The street outside our house is littered with the various life stages of a cicada: plain brown molted exoskeletons, mating cicadas (two conjoined tail to tail), dying cicadas with quivering legs as well as dead ones, and there are grease spots running up and down the road where cars have run over them. The rest, like the ones below, are in the trees — eating and laying eggs in the branches and singing, singing.