Saturday, 16 August 2008

A Loud and Ugly Shock

When I was a kid I loved origami. I had a stack of books on how to make animals and other objects, and packages upon packages of paper in different sizes, patterns, and colours.

After reading "Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes" I started making origami cranes for my mother. I wasn't able to make enough, and I gradually stopped doing origami regularly, but I never forgot how to fold a crane. Combine a nervous inability to sit and do nothing (knitting turns this ADD-ish behaviour to something useful) with a miserly desire not to waste things, and I often find myself making cranes out of chocolate wrappers and other coloured paper scraps. My advisor's assistant refuses to throw out the mini red (strawberry flavour) and green (green tea flavour) cranes I gave her, so they now decorate her desk. (In an aside, does anybody know a Japanese chocolate wrapped individually in blue paper? We're trying to make the display less Christmassy...)

ANYWAYS... one of the other creatures I remember making was the cicada (semi 蝉). Growing up mostly in Vancouver I never actually SAW a real one, so I had to rely on my origami book.

One of the books in the set I had

There was a picture with a few origami cicadas in pretty colours posed on a tree. I also remember a caption saying something about the cry of the cicada symbolizing summer.

I love the internet sometime - this is a photo of the cicada page from the book,
shamelessly stolen from a site trying to sell the book!

So I imagined some colourful songbird flitting through the trees. Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that a cicada is an insect, and a really REALLY UGLY one at that!!


and realized their "call" was not a sweet melody but an incessant whine! The lovely trees and greenery around the dorms are cicada heaven and the resulting whine is deafening!

The end of summer marks the end of the semi, and they die en masse - their ugly carcasses blanketing the ground.

Luckily fall brings gorgeous (and silent) colour to the trees and the semi disappear until the following summer.

1 comment:

  1. it is a really ugly bug. and guess what, we have the same origami book!