Listen…..Can You Hear It?

What are Brood XIX Cicadas?  I think it’s something that’s been sent to drive me and the remainder of the southern population crazy.  I admit I am borderline neurotic when it comes to noise.  I remember, many years ago, being compelled out of bed at our apartment in Rockaway, New Jersey; a hum at midnight pulled me outside, around the corner of the building, and to the edge of the woods where I stood, ear tilted up as I tried with all of me to identify the mind splitting moan.  After an effortless fact-finding few minutes I returned to the inside and my husband, who wondered what the heck had me out of bed in the first place.  I found out, come morning, it had been Jersey Central Power and Light’s cherry-picker repairing some power whatever.

Well, the other day someone asked me if I had heard the cicadas?  Totally surprised, I asked, “What cicadas?”  Had she been drinking?  Those don’t begin rubbing their wings until August; late summer.  My thoughts immediately traveled back to that apartment in Rockaway – I’ll draw a picture.  It’s August; the time of year when the weather is cool at night in the mountains. The windows are open in order to enjoy the nightly breeze except, there is this unending racket; sleep won’t come because the clatter is cranked as loud as it will go.  Suddenly, someone screams, “Shut-up!” It’s my husband searching in vain for peace from the commotion.

But, unlike me, the entire issue now of the out of time cicadas slips from my mind, and I go about my way.  Then, two days later, my husband and I are on our way out of the garage to breakfast.  He stops in his tracks, points, and says, “Listen.”

I instinctively stop, and perk an ear.  “What am I listening for?” I ask, unsure of the meaning of his question.

Again, he says, “Listen,” and points toward the woods.

As though I stepped from a bubble where I had been sheltered from everything earthly; like someone all of a sudden turned up the volume on my life, slowly – one notch at a time, the hum went from zero to a clear-cut, and nerve splintering drone. Now, I can’t turn it off.  Each time I step from my garage or out the front door, it’s as though we’re being invaded from afar.  I want to shake my head like a dog with peanut butter on its nose, but I know that won’t help.

One week has passed, and I fear slipping off the edge may be imminent. I liken it to holding on to the body of a guitar while someone again and again plucks one string. Only its the brain that is vibrating, worse than some type of torture performed at a hidden barbed wire encampment. What bothers me most is that I didn’t hear them until someone brought it to my attention, and considering my compulsion, to me that is disturbing.  I don’t know the science of this phenomenon, but I can say for sure, even though I know what all the commotion is – it is the eeriest sound that has ever entered my eardrum.  And I think as this appears a daytime occurrence, I fear that for the next four to five weeks, the cicadas may have sentenced me to strict nighttime outings only.  Now, my next question has to be – is this bothering anyone else?

Full news story courtesy of ABC News :

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