2 December 2006


Yesterday was a very odd day weatherwise. It had been exceptionally hot the day before and I was away from home. Returning in the evening I was greeted by the deafening noise of frogs. The waterlily dam was a loud croaking mass which I was pleased to hear. It's a lovely home-coming, the sound of frogs.

Next morning' s stillness promised a scorcher of a day. The frogs were quiescent but another sound had taken their place - a kind of a loud eerie hum. A glance out the window showed a haze hanging over the valley. It was either an unseasonal fog, or smoke, and my hunch was smoke. A quick sniff of the air to try to guess the direction. West is the worst, but wherever the smell is coming from the threat of bushfire is ever present - and that is a frightening prospect.

So up and outside, before it became too hot, to check on the chickens and make sure the plants I had left alone for a couple of days had survived without my ministrations, which they had. As soon as the outside door was opened the strange hum increased a notch in intensity. A dull threatening heat, smoke, and a noisy strumming in the ears.

Next stop, vegie patch where I saw hundreds of holes dotting the ground. I knew instantly the cicadas were hatching and beginning to call. We've had a few lonely cicada free summers recently. The last really busy one was the summer of 2001 when cicadas were able to drown out speech whenever we went outside. It was fun to stand in the bush and give a yell. In a good cicada year they yell back. The crescendo of noise which follows your yell hurts the ears. Believe me that is loud.

Listen to cicadas

The photo shows just a few of the shells left behind when the cicadas leave childhood behind and begin the busy period of finding a mate. The photo is of the vegie patch, hence the shrouds over my plants - protection. Shells were everywhere, hanging from plants and hanging on the netting seen in the background. I had to lift the nets to release the poor cicadas imprisoned there. I bet they wondered what on earth had happened, released from the earth but somehow not yet free.

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