The June 2021 cover story (“A Cicada Reunion”) reminds me of my childhood in the suburbs of Shanghai, where catching cicadas with a nest of sticky wheat gluten from way up in the trees was a major summer activity for boys. There never seemed to be enough of them for us kids, although they did appear every year. There were two types, black and green. The black ones were larger and spoke the universal cicada language of “shh-shh-shh,” while the green ones were smaller and sounded like “dying of heat” (re-si-la) in Chinese.
I now know that those coming to Princeton Reunions (in appropriate colors) once every 17 years are called “periodical cicadas,” while those I remember belong to the category of the “annual cicadas.” The article answered some and raised more interesting questions about them. Had I come to Princeton during a “cicada reunion” year I might have chosen a different major — in cicadas.