Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Fading Sounds of a Japanese Summer

As I walked outside at 0530 this week I noticed something was missing. Something that has greeted me happily every morning, for several weeks, as if cheering me on to the tough workout I had planned. Something that easily penetrated through the windows of our apartment. Something that almost blew out my eardrums as I tried to record its power, and something that, more than a few times, sent the kids and I screaming as if Godzilla himself was chasing us. I'm talking about the sounds of the cicada. 

It all began on a hot, sunny day in early July....Garytt and I were at the Purple Park waiting for Mackenzie to finish gymnastics. We were sitting on a bench, probably complaining about the heat, when I thought a baby bird flew into my leg! Poor little guy. So, we got down to check the area around the bench to see if it could be helped. Well, the sweet creature we were looking for was nothing I would consider sweet. We both squealed and jumped back about five feet from the four-eyed, winged beast that was probably planning to eat my leg!!!! This cicada was brown and fluttered its wings around the park as if he had chugged a chu-hai before heading out that afternoon. Luckily, it was time to get Mackenzie, so we left the flying monster and headed out of the park. 

The very next day, as I was on my way back from the gym, I noticed something attached to a tree. It brought memories of warm summer days spent trying to amass a collection of exoskeletons like no other! I carefully plucked the little skin from the tree trunk and took it in the house to show the kids. They were both impressed and started telling me all about collecting these with Grandma. Both refused to touch it though. 

The next week, while Mackenzie was at gymnastics, Garytt and I, well really just I, went on a hunt with my camera to try and get a few shots of these bugs. Yes, I'm sure many people looked at me like I was a weirdo, loitering under the trees with my neck painfully leaned back, staring up into the branches. There is a spot over in front of Hachiban with a dozen trees and the near-deafening sounds of cicada songs. Garytt helped in my hunt for about five minutes before he saw a couple boys playing at the nearby park and abandoned me. I paced under the trees for about fifteen minutes before the sounds started giving me a headache. Then, I settled under a cicada-less tree by the park and read a book while Boy played. 

As the summer moved along, humidity hit its peak, the cicada songs were at ear-splitting decibels, and most trees we sought relief from the heat under were littered with cicada shells.  But, sure enough, when we noticed the first few yellow leaves, had a few chilly mornings, and discovered our dehumidifiers didn't need emptying five times a day, we also started missing the morning serenades and the evening reveilles as the cicada songs start to fade into the fall...

Ok...maybe my ears are a little thankful that the sounds of summer are fading...

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