Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The last few days have been unseasonably warm, and last night I found a Cicada clinging onto some curtains inside the main room just by the terrace door. I helped him out and off he went but without the squark which often happens when you pick them up.

I spent a whole childhood up trees doing just that - picking up Green Grocers, Yellow Mondays, Piss Whackers, and Black Princes clinging onto the giant Liquidambar at the side of the old house and from which I could peer into the top floor of the Anderson's house that they built on what used to be the next door tennis court. No one had swimming pools then, and no one has tennis courts now. The room I could see into was the sitting room. It was all grey except for the ceiling which was white - grey walls, grey carpet, grey lounge and chairs. All grey, like the Andersons.

It didn't take much looking today to find the shells - one, two, four, sixteen -  everywhere. What I hadn't ever noticed before was the fine white stringy thing hanging out the abandoned exoskeleton, like something umbilical.

Curiously, there's been no songsters yet. It doesn't seem quite hot enough, or maybe they need to mature another day or so. But they're out and about.


David said...

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice, as she emerged in the Antipodes. What's a piss whacker?

wanderer said...

You don't have Cicadas?

A piss whacker is a smallish yellow cicada which pisses on you when you pick it up. I'm sure there's a more civil common name, but boys will be boys. Or maybe we just called any that took such defensive action, quite effective actually, by that name, but I seem to remember it was the smaller yellow ones.

I found a Green Grocer outside the bedroom this morning. Bet you needed to hear that.

Susan Scheid said...

Here, this was the year for the 17 year cicada. I remember the first time, as a kid, like a Hitchcock movie, shells blanketing the ground. We didn't get much action at the house this year (for which we're just as glad), but we were driving somewhere not too far off, opened the windows, and what a noise!