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  • I had forgotten the sound. It's different than the late summer cicadas. A throbbing, whooshing hiss, layered together with these two hollow tones. Over and over and over. Last time I heard it was 1997. I would have been about 13.

    My memories of the scale were right though: they're everywhere. Brood III this group is called. Up to 40,000 a tree and as many as a million an acre. That probably accounts for the sound - over 110 decibels if you're up close and personal. That's jet engine territory.

    I remember walking through my grandparents' yard back then, and grandma pointing out hundreds of empty shells clinging to every branch and leaf - encouraging us to pick them up and stick them on each other. I'm not sure why, but what else are you gonna do with them?

    Now it's my turn to play entomologist/ambassador, and 2 & 1/2 years old is a good time to make the introduction. That innate curiosity takes over and there is no hesitation getting hands-on - something for which mommy just looks the other way.

    The whole time, I can't help wondering where she'll be the next time these guys come around. I can hardly picture her at 3, let alone 19. Jeez... Back for the summer after her first year in college? Back for the summer after a year on the lam? Who knows... I just hope that curiosity is still there. Then, with her help, maybe mommy will be up for that proper introduction too.
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