Monday, May 27, 2013

"My Sunday Afternoon Walk"

The Sunday afternoon walk was sort of a tradition in our family. That is for my dad, my brothers and my sister.We always left Mama at home and we'd always come back with a bouquet of some kind, of which Mama was always appreciative. Looking back now I'm pretty sure it was Papa's way of giving her a precious hour or two a week of peace and quiet. And we enjoyed the walk as well.

Still do. I enjoy going by myself and taking my peace and quiet along. The woods was made for peace and quiet. Now I know many people enjoy roaring thru the woods on 4-wheelers. While I know it's not a sin, to me it just borders on being sacrilegious. 

So, I went on a walk yesterday. Nothing earth shattering. Sure, I'd rather been in Glacier National Park, but that wasn't feasible for Sunday afternoon.

So instead I just eased to the backside of Airy Mont Farm to my favorite spot on Seneca Creek below Sheep Rock. How did it get it's name? The woods slopes down towards the creek here until it abruptly ends with a straight rock drop off of probably 35 feet down to the creek level. Legend has it that back in plantation days a pack of dogs was chasing sheep in this area and they went off the cliff and died.

Now I mentioned earlier about the peace and quiet. This year they are both in short supply around here. You see it's the year for the "17 year locusts". And from all appearances you would think it was a plague of Biblical proportions happening right in front of your eyes.

But actually, they're not locusts, but rather "Periodical Cicadas". The ones we are seeing now were born in 1996 and have spent the last 16 years as larvae in the ground. Now this is the year for them to come out, mate, and lay the eggs that will hatch out for the next cycle.
A cicada came out of each one of these holes!

When the larvae come out of the ground, the first thing they do is shed their old skin. The ground is littered with these empty skins.
Right handsome actually; red eyes and yellow tipped wings. Supposed to be good eating when they first come out.
For as many of them as you see, you would think they would eat everything green in sight. But they don't seem to eat anything. The only damage at all is to some of the smaller diameter tree branches which the females sort of spear to lay their eggs.

And they are LOUD! I read that the sound level from their "singing" can be as high as 100 decibels. Now this singing may not be as melodic as you might imagine. The nearest thing I would compare it to would be some of that Russian men's choral music where they stay on the same pitch for a very long time. Some folks say the noise drives them crazy. But personally, I think they were probably crazy to start with. To me, while the sound itself maybe isn't exactly beautiful, the amazing life cycle makes it a lovely sound to my ears. It sounds like they are just shouting about a Designer.

While I enjoyed the cicadas for awhile, I spent most of my time down in the creek.  Down in that creek canyon you feel like you've left the cares of civilization behind. I would say why don't you join me, but two's a crowd at this spot!
A little civilization going by high overhead. (Now that's BLUE sky and GREEN trees)

Look closely for Mama Duck and little ones.

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