The cicadas are faltering. I still hear their joyful whir in the mornings though not for as long or as energetically as their midsummer chorus. Now in late August, early September, I find their big bodies scattered here and there on the ground. Amid the song of a few I now hear one, a descant, but weak and hesitating, staticky like trying to tune into a station on a transistor radio. My dog and I found one lying on its great back. It seemed dead but when Coco gently nosed it, ready to jump back, it heavily rose and flew away like a tiny, overloaded Zeppelin, gaining just enough altitude to make it to the lower branches of a nearby tree. The other night, we were leaving for dinner and I saw one supine in the driveway. I tried to pass it quickly and get to the car where my family waited but I couldn’t look away. A scattering of tiny ants were approaching the great beast of an insect and then I saw its legs slowly bicycling at intervals. My heart broke for it but I knew even if I moved it to the grass, it would still die and the ants would still get it. And the truth is I didn’t want to touch it. Soon we won’t hear them at all, unseen, singing en masse throughout the trees. They will be replaced by the discordant chirp of fall crickets, harbingers of early nights and golden leaves. Until the day when I will go out and find the crispy brown shells with their bugged out eyes, clinging to a fence, a garbage can, a tree and I will revel once again in the beloved screaming clamor of a new summer.
Erin lives in a yellow house with her husband, two children and a very brown dog. She loves taking that dog on her last walk of the day, just before bedtime, when she can be alone outside in the night.