Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Cicada Does Not Miswant

Diceroprocta semicincta in my neighborhood

He does not yearn for a new house or faster car to make life worth living. Neither does he want to move to Paris for a better life, nor flit from job to job in an effort to gain both incremental improvements in income and satisfaction. No, he more or less just buzzes loudly for a few weeks, seeks a mate, finds one, and is done. A laser-sharp focus, undiminished by nonsense: survive the acute threats, sing the song, find a mate. I touch him to see if he's still with us, still on his singular mission, and he takes flight, buzzing, sounding annoyed, but really just avoiding a perceived acute threat. Providing me with just the fleeting dose of delight and thought provocation which I seek to set off a ride, and a day, on the right foot. He understands time, lives it in fact, and his focus on his goal is irreproachable. On the other hand, as a human, it is almost my mantra, my way of being, my essence, to focus on wrong things of the moment, to misunderstand time, to miswant.

Oh, Diceroprocta, perhaps I can learn from you some working tips to improve in these areas. I do have my stories, though, and since I cannot tell if the cicada's songs tell stories or are merely mating plaints, I shall assume that I am the superior story-teller, and offer to spin a few yarns for him, in exchange for some tips on focus, and on a direct and meaningful comprehension of time.

I shall not miswant. Try that on for size, big guy. The cicada doesn't, so why do I? This post written right after finishing Thinking, Fast And Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, while listening to the song of this very cicada which, as I finish this, appears to be no longer with us so soon, for his song is quiet now. I wonder if he achieved his goal. I wonder what he thought in his last moment. I don't know the former, but I have a guess at the latter: buzzzz buzzzz buzzzz.


  1. I needed this post today. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful post and cool pics! Of Diceroprocta, I have only vitripennis in my area. (Central KS).

    1. Thanks Ace! I have a special place for the songs of the cicadas. Also for the magnificent palo verde beatle., which doesn't get enough press.


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