The Summer Bugs are here.

Their “real” name is Cicada, but I always think of them as The Summer Bugs. To me, the sound they make, the rhythmic buzzing, is the sound of summer. It’s the sound of heat and sun and sweat and thirst.

That sound sets me on edge.

As a child, I had fun collecting their shells. My friends and I would group the shells into large and small, make up stories about Momma Bug and Poppa Bug and their family of Little Bugs.

The shells were brown, crackly and fragile. For some reason, they didn’t bother me. They still don’t bother me (much). Of course, I no longer collect them; they are no longer weird toys. Now, as an adult, I simply ignore them.

On the other hand, the bugs – the living, active bugs – have always bothered me. The bugs cannot be ignored. Green and white bodies, large, transparent wings, bulbous eyes and skittery legs. Sometimes, one will fly at you, maybe even get stuck in your hair. When they do, their buzzing is no longer distant background noise. It is in your ears, immediate and loud, swift and insistent. The stuff of nightmares.

I know they are harmless to humans. I’m sure they provide some type of bug benefit in nature and aren’t truly deserving of my deeply-held disgust.

But I’ll still be glad when summer ends, and they go back into hibernation, putting and end to their droning, repetitive buzz. Until the next year, when the temperatures soar again, and we squint as we look up at cloudless skies and think, “How many days has it been since it last rained?”

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