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It’s been reported that this is the year that the 17-year cicadas will emerge in the mountains to sing their songs as they party in the trees. In the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, they are ready for a grand entrance.

According to researchers, they tunnel and claw their way out of the ground, enjoy a feast of green plant life, they mate, and they lay some eggs, every 17 years. Let’s not forget the singing. They sing a deafening chorus lasting a couple of months in an effort to attract the prettiest bug at the party. Think about it, who would want to mate with an ugly bug?

They have two months to find a gorgeous queen of the ball with big buggy eyes and long lashes, I mean tentacles, to mate with. They have to sing their hearts out to get the attention of the pretty ones. Their exhaustive merrymaking is so taxing after they finally find the perfect mate, they craw back into the ground to sleep it off for another 17 years.

The bug scientists are reporting that there has been a delay in their emergence. They blame it on weather that has produced a cooler-than-normal spring. I am not sure that is entirely correct I think they have decided to hunker down in the subterraneam out of fear of what is going on above ground.

You see, I think they are smarter than they look. This is simply conjecture on my part, but I think the top locust, President Cicada, gathered his most trusted buggy advisers around the conference table and appointed a scout to sneak to the surface and do a little reconnaissance.

Now Snoop the brave appointee scout (Snoop is his undercover codename), went tiptoeing upstairs to see what was going on. Snoop was not gone long and returned demanding that there be an emergency meeting with President Cicada and his advisers to report his findings. He appeared pale and shaken up. After calming himself down, Snoop began to tell the story.

There is some crazy things going on up there he says. Snoop, start at the beginning, demanded President Cicada, and don’t leave anything out.

Well he says, as he composes himself, people are out of work and schools are closed. Businesses are fading and malls are struggling. There is no longer any such thing as dinner and a movie. Restaurants are failing and those that are open have only half the tables available. If you want to see a movie, you get it from something called Netflix. And listen to this, they got no toilet paper! People act like they are scared of each other and instead of kissing and hugging, they are bumping elbows and standing 6 feet apart.

They got a bug up there that I never heard of. This thing is more destructive than we ever thought of being. This bug calls itself COVID-19 and it is invisible. People are terrified and are wearing masks to hide from it.

Wait, there is more. There is civil unrest in the streets that has nothing to do with the virus bug, Snoop reports. Young people are protesting, and some cities have experienced rioting. People have died needlessly, and businesses have been looted and police cars have been burned. There is hate in the hearts of some.

The political leaders do not see eye to eye. Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats. I’m telling you, President Cicada, humans are in a mess.

President Cicada says to Snoop, perhaps you have overreacted. How about going back for another look.

Snoop was terrified at the thought of going back and made no bones about how he felt. Mr. President, I think we should crawl back in our holes for another year or two until the humans sort out their differences. It is not safe to be in their world in the year 2020. I don’t believe we should chance having our eggs hatch in an environment containing invisible bugs and humans with waywardness in their hearts.

I recommend we give them some time. The humans are working hard to send the COVID bug away and I suspect that the humans will come to their senses and stop fighting among each other. It simply shouldn’t be that hard for rational human beings to come to terms and get along. All they need to do is listen to each other and do the right thing.

We can rename ourselves the 18-year locust or the 20-year cicadas, go back to sleep, says Snoop, and make a reappearance in a year or two when it is safer to sing for a mate. I don’t want to wake one day and be like the humans with hate in my heart. And I sure can’t see singing my heart out for a pretty mate only to bump elbows.

Dr. Darlene Atkinson-Moran grew up in Olanta. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She is retired from the education profession and now resides in Florence with her husband, Michael. Contact her at

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