The Great Southern Brood has flung its fling, sung its songs, flown its flights, sowed its seeds. A few lonely latecomers still flit around, looking a little lost, wondering where the big party is, but the waves of red-eyed revelers of past weeks have mostly passed on.
I expect that not everyone is sorry to see them go, but I’ll miss them. Some things about them, at least.. Not necessarily the startle of having them land on my face or scrabble down inside my shirt. Not the certainty of getting a car full of cooked arthropods if I leave the windows down on a sultry day. But I’ll miss the exuberance, the silvery explosion of sound when I open the backyard gate and startle them at rest, the sight of hordes of them stirring around in the trees, looking like bees buzzing around a hive. I’ll even miss their music and trying to unravel its complicated rhythms and waves.
Some determined grumps see them only as pests, screeching too loud and littering the ground. They leave their messy exoskeletons clinging to our neat fences and manicured plants. They are graspy and noisy and alien and, well, just so untidy.
But me, I see them as part of the grand, sacred rhythm of the world. A bit less majestic, maybe, but no less fascinating than the great wildebeest migrations in Africa
or the mysterious simultaneous blooming and death of some bamboos. This is spectacle and a manifestation of the grand pulse of life. Our objections are petty and trivial.
Maybe in thirteen years, we will see their children in our backyard. Maybe they will perch on our shoulders to ask about the ancestors. And maybe we’ll take the time to tell them that we knew them, marveled at them, and, some of us at least, loved having them here.