Camping with Cicadas

Last summer, my husband and I set up our camper in Versailles State Park amid southern Indiana’s lush, green hills. Beautiful weather. Perfect.

Except for an odd, reverberating hum whose volume increased every hour.

Ooooooo-mmmmmmm.

Hubby snapped his fingers. “Oh, yeah. Cicadas. I read the every-17-year swarm — this one’s called ‘Brood X’ — will arrive this summer.”

Image by Stefan Lins from Pixabay.

I recalled my childhood fascination with cicadas’ molting. My siblings and I giggled at our mother’s squeals when Dad tossed empty shells at her. We perched additional shells on the screen door for her viewing pleasure.

Nowadays, I enjoy cicadas’ summer evening concerts, but Brood X’s noise made me shudder. “Reminds me of 1960s sci-fi movies before aliens show up.”

“The Return of the Monster Cicada,” Hubby intoned in a Vincent Price voice and threw a shell at me.

Image by Parlansky from Pixabay.

The nonstop drone only hinted at Indiana’s bug invasion. According to Elizabeth Barnes and Cliff Sadof of Purdue University, up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre might leave their 17-year underground larvae childhood to climb trees and party.

I thanked God that multitudes of His interesting but noisy little creatures gathered on campsites elsewhere. Those insect swingers appeared so desperate for dates that they climbed anything resembling a tree. A few shinnied up our camp table legs. Up signposts.

Occasionally, on us.

“Get lost.” I brushed off would-be suitors. “I’m taken.”

“If we were survival camping, you’d ask them to dinner.” Hubby consulted his smartphone. “They’re low in cholesterol. See, somebody topped cookies with them.”

“I wouldn’t survive cicada cookies,” I retorted, “and neither would you.”

The Tyson United Methodist Church in Versailles, Indiana, was completed in 1937.

I suggested a walk around historic Versailles, where we read about John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raid and viewed a unique 1937 Art Deco church.

Ooooooo-mmmmmmm. The weird bug love song still sounded as if crooned into microphones. Piles of cicada shells grew beneath trees. We tiptoed along sidewalks to avoid squishing our fellow pedestrians.

Back at our campsite, I ignored ooo-mmms and gave thanks for bugless s’mores. For a fun experience amid beautiful, rugged hills, despite the swarm.

Fortunately, another Brood X won’t occur for another 16 years.

If I still camp at age 85, I plan to head north.

Our noisy neighbors swarmed the campground, the state park, and the nearby town of Versailles, Indiana.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever experienced a swarm like Brood X?

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