Brother Cicada

In my youthful days, if I was not spending time at the beach during a month long summer vacation, I was usually outside venturing in the woods.  Even though I was born in the boom of Nintendo and other TV games, my parents had forbidden me from having such toys or any toys for that matter. So my playmates were automatically selected to those out in nature, where numerous spiritual brothers & sisters reside.


Brother Cicada

cicadaThe elder of the insect world
Birthed inside the dried twig
Summer heat gave embracing hugs
Fallen leaves prepared special tree saps
White blanket covered to keep warmth
Butterflies flapped anxiously for you to join the world
And in the rainy season you decided to venture out
The shell that kept you safe became too small
With a raindrop, you dove into the earth

There you suckled on the root saps
Prepared over countless cycles of four seasons
The soil was warm and soft like fleece
Protecting you from predators eyes


As you nourished on the tree saps
You were learning the trees
Learning the soils
Learning fallen leaves
Cold white blanket of snow
Melting away to make a river flow

Many seasons had passed
As you shed away the clothing that got small

And little by little
You started to dig closer to the surface
One day at a time
One dig at a time
One peek at a time
It is brighter out there
Than the soil you where lived for so long

On one early morning
Still dark outside
You came out of the ground
That hosted you as your house
And you climb up the tree
Searching to perch
Perching place to shed away the skin

As the Sun starts to rise
You are ready
The exoskeleton that was too tight
Becomes the thing of the past
As the birds start to sing
You stretch your newly attained wings
With enhanced eyes that reflect the Sun
You joyfully take the first flight

My brother Cicada
In past I wondered
If you ever wanted to go back
Go back into nymph shell
Back to safe underground
It was foolish of me
After listening to your rejoicing songs
I know you don’t ever wish that
You have grown
You have gained wider perspectives
As you matured
You are now a master of sky


Cicadas symbolize summertime in Japan. Lots of songs, poems, haikus have been dedicated to them from ancient times. Cicadas are one of the insects with the longest life expectancy. Their eggs take as long as10 months to hatch. But their life expectancy wasn’t known until much later because they spent so much of their time underground as nymphs and it was very difficult to raise them by human hands after they became adult cicadas. Cicada’s nymph has degenerated eyes, since they don’t have to use their eyesight living underground. As cicadas molt their exoskeleton to become grown adult cicada, they gain fully developed compound eyes.

Brother Cicada sings from top of his “wings”, quite deafening in Japan. But who could blame his joyous singing, when we realize that he has gained complex eyesight!

Brother Cicada taught to me to shed: shed my old perspectives, be open to newer understandings, unfamiliar concepts, and growth.