At 5:00 this morning, a cicada dying on our back deck woke me from a deep, lovely sleep. Or to be more accurate, Jack woke me up. Because to Jack, the sliding glass door that lets out on the back deck is his personal window on the outside world and all manner of exciting things happen on the other side of it that he just must be a part of. Even, apparently, at 5:00 AM. Because Jack is 55 fuzzy pounds of boundless enthusiasm and canine curiosity.
I thought he had to pee. So because he was being a good dog by summoning me to the back door with single, politely spaced barks, I got up. When I pulled the glass door aside, I had just enough time to register the tell-tale buzzing and staccato rapping of the cicada’s wings against the deck as it tried to flip itself off its back, before Jack lunged. I caught him, because I didn’t really want to hear the sound the cicada might make as Jack crunched it between his teeth.
To his credit, I don’t think Jack was actually going to eat it. Because he didn’t last time. Yes, it’s happened before, a couple of weeks ago – a late summer phenomenon, I would never have predicted – that a cicada’s dying throes would wake our sweet boy from a deep sleep in our bedroom a story above (Jack sleeps like the dead) and draw him to the sliding glass door where, for the second time this season, a cicada had chosen to strut and fret his last few minutes on the stage. Dammit, Jack.
Still, it wouldn’t have been so bad except that when I stepped outside to shoo Jack down the steps into the yard just in case he really did have to pee, my head passed through a hundred sticky, invisible threads. It’s not a pleasant sensation, your face and hair being suddenly wrapped in spider web (and as I think I established in a previous essay, almost nothing sticky is good) especially when it’s 5:00 in the morning and you have been most cruelly wrested from your lovely refreshing sleep. I wasn’t expecting it.
I should have been, though. Because that particular spider had been rebuilding that same web across the top corner of the doorway for the last couple of weeks. So far he’s caught my partner and I (who are usually the first and the last people in or out that door every day) several times, with particularly spectacular results when it involves my darling, spider-phobic partner. She really hates this spider.
And I know, if I really loved her, I would have relocated the offending arachnid by now, but honestly I just keep thinking, Surely it won’t do it again! But mostly because lately, I’ve been having some multitasking issues related to the waning vigor of my ability to store and process information on a short-term basis. (i.e. I just keep forgetting about it.) Which is probably why I walked through the infernal thing again this morning.
Once I had clawed most of the sticky silk from my hair and eyes, I turned my attention back to the dying cicada. He needed to be relocated. So I picked him up. He buzzed and bounced about in my hand. I promptly dropped him. He hit the deck, bounced and flew right through the open door into the house until he bounced off the living room wall, fell to the floor and landed on his back again. I sighed, walked over and offered him a finger. He glommed on with all six clawed appendages and I carried him back outside.
And there I found myself in a quandary. I was standing at the railing of the deck with a cicada clinging to my finger, and he would not let go. I waved my hand about a bit as if to say, Fly away big ugly bug! Fly away! He declined and dug his little claws in tighter. I gently pinched him between thumb and forefinger with my other hand and tried to pull him off. He dug in tighter so that I was afraid if I persisted, he would lose a leg before he let go of me. I laid my hand on the railing and gave him a chance to disembark and walk away. He declined.
Now before I tell you this next part, I have to remind you that it was 5:00 on a Sunday morning and I had been pulled a lovely deep sleep and I really, really wanted to go back to bed. So I pulled my index finger back, cocked it against my thumb, and flicked. The cicada sailed over the railing and into the darkness below. I felt a twinge of guilt for not being more gentle with the dying bug, sighed, turned to go in and walked right back through the hanging remains of the spider web.
Anyone else having bug (or spider) troubles this summer? Got a story? Share it below!