In the DC area this spring, the electric buzz of cicadas seems nearly deafening each time someone opens the door. Within a few seconds, we acclimate to the sound, but each time we go outside, we shake our heads at the cacophony created by thousands of small wings and the fat bodies that sit underneath them.
This Brood X species has been waiting for 17 years to emerge from the ground.
Their bodies crawl slowly out of their shells new and white.
They look naked. Raw. Vulnerable.
Can you relate?
Soon, their bodies darken, their beings coming into their own.
They leave behind their empty shells, the husks that once contained them. Though devoid of life, these exoskeletons appear forever in motion, clinging to surfaces even though their inner workings are long gone.
Some fly well. Others not so much. Many get eaten, including one my 10-year-old was videotaping and dropped too close to our dog’s mouth.
They put themselves out there, though, on such a great scale in order to ensure their species’ survival. They don’t have egos about their particular prospects, just about the overall success of their kind.
If I’ve come to understand anything as I’ve grown – older, for sure, but I also hope a little wiser – it’s that everything is always in flux. There are cycles we can predict and others we can’t. But there is never really a norm.
There is only a moment you can inhabit, and there is the chance to be open to the next.
In the past several years, I’ve gone through a number of cycles in my parenting, in my personal life and relationships, and in my sense of myself as an adult in the world.
I spent years breastfeeding and diapering to arrive now at closing out my youngest’s time in elementary and my oldest’s first year of high school.
I spent years wondering what to do about my marriage and questioning how open I really am to connection to family and friends.
I spent years focusing on my health and writing mostly about wellness with creativity squeezed into small spaces.
It has been necessary for me to retreat, to go inward, at times, but it is not necessary all of the time.
The cicadas and the coronavirus remind me what the seasons tell me every three months: that there is much I cannot know or hold in my hand for very long. And even what I think I have may turn upside down.
That doesn’t mean life cannot be full of moments of beauty and joy.
I remain humble about my lack of control over forces beyond me, but I do commit to acknowledging the choices I have the ability to make. It’s been a long time since I felt I could prioritize certain aspects of my life, and I’m sharing here the intention to not let fear or old patterns get in my way of moving forward. There are projects I want to pursue, pieces I want to write, experiences I want to seek.
I don’t expect to go back to writing regular posts about my life journey or my health journey on this site as I once did, but I do intend to find meaningful ways to engage with others, in writing and in person.
May I not forget the sound and the grandeur of this cicada emergence, or of each day.
All photos copyright Jessica Claire Haney & may not be used or reproduced without permission.