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J. Daniel Ashton

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Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, —Ecclesiastes 9:10a NIV
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands:
"See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God." —Micah 6:8, CEV
With all your heart you must trust the LORD and not your own judgment.
Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. —Proverbs 3:5,6 CEV

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Name: Daniel Ashton
Location: Germantown, Maryland, United States

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Monday, May 24, 2004

Singing Cicadas

As I walked through the parking lot at work this morning, I encountered a few of our Brood X guests. I stopped to look closely at two of them. The first one sang for me, two brief songs, before flying away. The second one sang a slightly different, slightly lower song, and hopped onto my briefcase to sing to me again.

I'm pretty sure these were Magicicada septendecim, although I know little about them. In this area there are at least two species in Brood X. You can hear, very loudly, the individual drones of Magicicada cassini, which are what I expect cicadas to sound like. But I was surprised to hear a much higher-pitched song coming from thousands more insects, the songs blended together into an indistinguishable chorus. For the first three days I thought that a nearby store had a malfunctioning burglar- or fire-alarm.

This chorus is not prevalent near our home in Germantown, but you can hardly ignore it near our church in Clarksville, or here at my office building in New Carrollton. When I got off the freeway this morning I rolled down the windows so I could hear the chorus as I drove to our parking lot. I was wondering whether I would get to hear the individual calls of Septendecim, and what they sound like as compared to Cassini. So it was a gift to not only see them in the parking lot, but to get to hear two of them in personal recital.

I carried the one to a grassy island and shooed him off. He sang as he flew away, maybe "Thank you."


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1:50 PM  

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