top of page

Life is Short, Let's SCREAM with the Cicadas

Week of June 10th

WARNING if you happen to be reading this from the Midwest or East Coast, this might be a very triggering topic. Either that or you are so completely tone-deaf, or just actually deaf, that you have become numb to it. Because right now there is quite a lot of "buzz" (emphasis on the "ZZZZsssZZZZsssZZZsss...) about an actual, biblical size, Cicada Apocalypse.

I wasn't fully aware of the magnitude of this until my friend in Chicago sent a Marco Polo from outside her suburban home. The only thing I could make out from her Polo was "no I'm not in a rainstick..." and continued to move her mouth but her voice was completely drowned out by a car alarm of winged bugs. It did indeed sound like she was in a high pressured rainstick - a pounding rainstorm stick. I haven't heard anything like it. It wasn't the volume so much as their unapologetic relentlessness. In her next Polo she didn't even bother talking, just sat in the middle of the screaming bug arena while her eyes darted back and forth, looking equally exhausted and freaked out.


Here's what we learned from our friend (she explained to us inside the safety of her sealed, somewhat sound-proof home. Like in the final scene of The Birds). TYPICALLY, Cicadas emerge every 13 years and others emerge every 17 years. They USUALLY wait underground, like little creepy time capsules, and they take a number to wait in line for their big reveal. This separates the Cicadas species once they are above the surface, providing more space and order, a little more sanity. Giving East Coasters a manageable (but still absurd) number of Cicadas. My Chicago friend said they USUALLY start hearing them end of June through July/August. TYPICALLY around sunset. HOWEVER ... what is happening now is a co-emerging. Basically a traffic jam of broods of different life cycles. This can happen, where a Kindergarten class accidentally wind up on the wrong bus, with the 4th graders, but they're headed to the same field trip anyway. So it's not a big deal. This happens about every 25 years or so. What is happening this year however is NOT TYPICAL and does NOT USUALLY happen. This is a rare occurrence where two different, very specific broods, of different life cycles are co-emerging. This is like a Kindergartener class from a completely different school hitches a bus ride full of 4th graders, and go on THEIR field trip. What could go wrong?!? Mayhem, lots of role calls to find each other. Apparently this happens every 221 years!!

Brood XIX (which arrives every 13 years) and and Brood XIII (which arrives every 17 years) have joined forces. They threw their numbers in the air and squeezed onto the same bus. Maybe not a school bus but more of a tour bus heading to the ultimate Superbowl Halftime Show. Parliament-Funkadelic and Santana, which totals about 120 band members if you count a couple groupies, decided to band together. Play on the same stage, at the same time, without breaks, for a month straight. In Cicada numbers however the mix of these bands/broods come out to TRILLIONS of Cicadas. My friend said they also came out earlier this year, in May, and they are full force - going all day.

My favorite explanation as to how this happened is because, get ready for it, they

did their math wrong. I mean why do you think Dracula is always counting? It's easy to lose track when you're going mad, isolated in a dark cave. I can't help but wonder too, how does this effect the next brood? Is this going to now be one consolidated brood with emerging timelines now? Can they actually interbreed and have one SUPER BROOD BREED?

Well, from what I read, basically nature is awesome and keeps the numbers under control - even as insane as they seem. There are enough predators to thin out the population and competition of resources where not every Cicada will survive to mate. As far as hybrid Super Broods here's what one very in depth article had to say (good one if you want to go down a cicada sized rabbit hole about this):

"if hybrid offspring were produced, then they would emerge alongside the next generation of one or both of their parental broods and be indistinguishable from cicadas that were not hybrids." I think that means,'ll be fine.

The good news is, unlike The Birds, they do not bite, peck, or attack. They are completely harmless. They actually do a lot of good by aerating the soil when they come to the surface and are just the best bottomless all-day brunch buffet for our birds.

It's just that SOUND! Much like a hair metal electric guitar player, the sound they make is their mating call. I have to say after sitting outside a Seattle single's mingle event last Friday, where everyone stared into their wine and only talked to the girlfriends they came with, the Seattle singles scene could have used some dating tips from the Cicadas. Instead of liquid courage they needed some fiery -"life is too short" - Cicada courage. Some of that volume and unapologetic relentless. They also needed more dashing gentlemen, fresh off flailing from a tree - screaming like a truck horn.

Last week we were inspired by our planet's dependable orbit and the "3 Body Problem" by doing shaky balance work, on unstable surfaces, and adding a rotation. Proving if we have a focal point we can stay secure no matter what is thrown our way. However, I couldn't help but find the irony that because of a couple last minute cancellations, a lot of my classes of 3 wound up being 2. It felt like you all took the "3 Body Problem" very literally lol! The folks that made it to class got a whole lot of bang (and BUUUURN) for their buck. It was one of my favorite weeks of teaching in the studio so far. I saw some serious progression in your strength and we really had fun, off script, playing on the equipment.

Let's continue doing stamina driven, creative moves - but approach the week more like a Cicada. Do not wait for the motivation to come before trying a class, it will actually never be delivered to your front door. Do not wait for your back to go out to start doing supportive and relieving strength work. Do not wait for that panicked prep of having to squeeze into swimmies as we head into summer weather. Just sign up. Emerge and come exactly as you are. Because, if you feel you're rusty, just think how the Cicadas feel after 17 years! They have every reason to feel awkward and anxious, and that certainly doesn't stop them. Let's not waste our short-lived precious time on Earth.

After this I promise I'll take a break from writing about bugs lol!

"Before I sink into a deep sleep - I want to hear the scream of the butterfly."

~ Jim Morrison (who didn't actually have to take a bunch of psychedelics and wander the desert to get close to this. He could have just walked down the street of a Chicago suburb in the summer)

Excited to make your bodies sweat, smile, and move boldly and loudly like a Cicada with nothing to lose!




bottom of page