The cicadas are going strong these days. Just sit outside on a muggy St. Louis evening and you’ll have to talk a little bit louder to be heard over their singing. Cicadas definitely came into this world to live their lives out loud. We could take a lesson from them.
Cicadas always mean high summer to me. High summer is when life is undeniably in motion – both under, and on top of the earth.
Two weeks ago, as we were all busy harvesting, we passed the Feast of Lughnasa, the Celtic festival of the harvest. Half-way between the summer solstice and the fall equinox, this is a time of celebration for the gift of the sun (Lugh means light) and the wealth of food it provides. On Lughnasa, the sun and the earth have done their job well. They have worked in sync to provide for all the clans and life is good.
Maybe cicadas are so loud because they are singing this goodness. Or maybe they are little green summer-time messengers, here to remind us to take advantage of the sun’s long days and the abundance of new possibilities. They’re a little pushy, for sure. But who doesn’t need a push from time to time?
The Green Man is, no doubt, amused by cicadas. The Green Man is an ancient symbol of the perpetual cycle of the seasons. He’s especially notable during the harvest season when all green growing things are at their finest. You can see him peering out from lush gardens, farm rows and trees. You’ll swear you see a human face appear suddenly in the midst of high-summer foliage, but when you turn to take it fully in, it disperses back into the leaves again. He is there, then gone – a whimsical watcher made of the merging of sun and earth.
Cicadas, harvest festivals and green men all sing the same song with the same message. Life always wins.
As I write, we are still in the fire of high summer. New crops are going into the ground and the cicadas are still in full voice. But changes are coming. We’ve seen the first indications that this growing season may have just begun a slow winding down. But only just. For now, on we go – following the sun across the sky and reveling in an on-going celebration of the harvest it brings.
In a few months when the crops are spent and the colder winds begin, we might feel a bit of sadness as the light fades and the slower rhythms set in.
But out on the land…? Out on the land, the Green Man will wink, the cicadas will sleep deep in the still warm earth, and Lugh will go right on shining brightly overhead.
We should remember. Life always wins.
This program is funded 77% at $128,051 by federal funds and 23% at $38,249 by nongovernmental sources for a total amount of $166,300. The federal funds are received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provided by the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division.