I’m living for the cicadas and not much else

I’m fixated on the cicadas. They’re starting to emerge and leave their exoskeletons stuck to the side of the house, the pot with a not-yet-sprouted tomato plant, and the sidewalk. I know there will be more than I can count, but for now, I can count them. And that makes me want to protect them. Our lawn had to be mowed the other day, and I knew a cicada was hanging out on a weed. So I moved it.

I didn’t expect to care about them. I expected to be afraid of them. They’re really big. And exoskeletons are not stuff of the every day. But I guess that’s what’s so captivating. They’re not the every day. At least in New Jersey. It’s not every day these creatures come out of the ground after being there for seventeen years. And now this is their one shot to ensure the next generation of their kind. The stakes could not be higher. They know what they need to do, and they’re going to give it everything they’ve got. Meanwhile, we’re mowing the lawn. And feeding the cat. Not exactly monumental or necessary to the continuation of our species.

The reason I’m really so fixated (besides an overactive sense of compassion for all living things, apparently), is that I’m really concerned with doing something monumental. And I can’t figure out what I can do that would be monumental. For me. You know, some people start non-profits, some people dedicate their lives to science or religion. I applied to grad school over the past several months. And now I’m thinking that that Master’s degree and any of the possible careers it could lead me to are probably not the monumental things I want to dedicate my time or energy or imaginary tens of thousands of dollars toward.

You ever get so concerned with thinking about what you SHOULD be doing, that you end up doing nothing at all? I’ve watched about 10 hours of Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ in the past week because I feel so stuck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have the luxury of watching premium television programming, but the only reason I’m really watching it is because I don’t know what else I’m supposed to be doing. Except saving cicadas from getting killed by the lawn mower. Because at least they know what they’re doing. And I’LL be damned if my inconsequential human activity (toward ensuring the continuation of the aesthetics of suburban America) is going to interfere with that.


This entry was published on May 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm. It’s filed under America, Culture, Entertainment, Life, Science, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “I’m living for the cicadas and not much else

  1. I have an enormous sensitivity toward all living creatures as well. If I find a spider in the house, I trap it in a cup and put it outside. After all, I feel like we intruded upon its territory. At the same time, I don’t want little spider biting me out of nowhere.

    • I know what you mean. We’ve got spiders living in our basement hatch, and I use the hatch regularly. So terrified to walk through that hatch, but refuse to make the spiders leave.

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