Actually, it’s cicadas: 17-year-locusts.
My wife and I were riding in her car today and heard a funny noise. We thought maybe there was something wrong with the car, or maybe not. When she stopped the car, the noise continued. It was all around us. Sort of a science-fictiony-sounding noise.
A few minutes later, the Mr. Nature portion of my brain kicked in and I realized what it was: cicadas in the trees. Jillions of them. They’ve been coming out of the ground lately, to shed their larval skins and become adults, and mate. This year we have the 17-year locusts, who all lay their eggs at the same time and emerge from the earth 17 years later, all at once. (There are other kinds of cicadas who don’t do this, so every summer you’ll have some.)
I couldn’t help wondering how many people, knowing no better, heard the strange noise all around them in the trees and just freaked out. I mean, this is exactly the kind of noise flying saucers and other alien doohickeys make when a whole bunch of them land and start exterminating the human race. We’ve all heard it in the movies, especially in 1950s flying-saucer movies. Think woom-woom-woom as the UFOs demolish Capitol Hill in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers–although these days, that strikes me as a rather cheery image.
“They did it, the dirty so-and-sos–just like on The X-Files. They sold us out to the aliens, and now the aliens are here! What’ll we do?”
Amnesty, and a quick path to citizenship?