Before we went to bed, Alfonz and I took a midnight swim, as you do when the heat reaches 37 in the shade. The air was thick, still heavy with the heat of the day. On the wall next to the swimming pool, a lonely cigale landed. They rarely come out in the open, usually prefer hiding in the brush of a shrub, but you can always hear them.
This little dude was having trouble flying and managed to fly himself in our pool. Scared the living crap out of us, Alfonz courageously scooped him out. A minute later a stray cat had him in his clutches and he bellowed. Che che che che, and the sound of flapping wings, for a brief second I thought I was wrong, maybe it is a small bat, but no it was our little cigale fighting for his life. We shooed away the cat but it was too late for our little broken winged friend.
The sound of his fellow cigales or cicadas from the trees in the campgrounds were almost bird-like. A rhythmic sound all in the same key that muffled out all else. They sang until morning.
Cicadas or cigales in French are the eerie chirping insects that in the summer heat of the Languedoc the males sing their mating cries. Last night the sounds was deafening. At 6:00am my daughter came in our room and said, ‘Mommy the Cicadas are waking me up, listen.’ And sure enough their song filled the air with a buzzing sound unlike any other time before. They were screaming as loud as they could, a conference of newly molted or hatched cigales across the street from our home in the giant pine trees.
The air was cool at 7:00am when the insects finished their song all at once, as if the director said, ok boys it is time for a coffee break. The silence was strange after a long night of songs. The silence woke us up and I wondered why last night the songs were so strong and I imagined their instinctual genetic programming that binds them to this song. At 9:30 the heat reached over 28 degrees again, and the conductor said, ok boys coffee break’s over. Another of mother nature’s wonders for us to witness.