Cicada husks on parade during our camping trip. The campground horseshoe field was full of them.

The sound was always elusive.


The rhythmic buzzing cut on in an instant. Curious about what made it, I tried to triangulate the source of the noise.


Somewhere in the backyard, or was it the neighbor’s backyard? Sometimes it seemed to blare from the front yard.


Something that loud had to come from something big, but there was never anything big around.


Then it would come to an abrupt stop.


One day I narrowed down the sound’s location. It was coming from somewhere up above. I took to one of the large trees in the backyard, trying to concentrate on navigating the tangled series of limbs while peering through the leaves and tracking the buzz.


Finally, as the branches began to narrow to the point they were barely able to support my grade-school frame, I came eye-to-eye with my first cicada. It looked part grasshopper, part dinosaur-era insectoid. I dangled from the free bewildered.


Then it flew off.


My kids’ introduction to cicadas was different. they began finding shed shells left behind following the bugs’ molting outside. Not easily grossed out, they have no problem picking them up and carrying them around.