Friday, August 26, 2011

Cicadas and Humidity

The summer has been staggeringly hot, well, when it wasn't raining and it sure has rained too much this particular summer. It's rained so much in fact that Seoul made international news for flooding within the city, but almost 2 months of nearly non-stop rain is a bit much. However, I might add that the rain wasn't quite as bad as 2 years ago when the rivers flooded to overflowing and walking and bike trails paralleling the rivers completely disappeared. At least there were intermittent days this year when the sun would peep through and which allowed the waters to not back-up so badly. Housing in the low level areas were the ones badly affected again with homes being flooded and foundations being undermined causing structures to collapse or mudslides to appear where mudslides were not known to be.

Anyway, now that the rains have stopped, the humidity now soars and the cicadas (pictured) chirr from the trees. When the humidity goes up, so does their volume and lately I've noticed the shrieking chirr, much louder than the chirr of cicadas in the northern states, has started as early as 5:30 a.m. Yes, it's blazing! But exercise is needed so in the early a.m. before kids and drunk old men populate the riverside walks, I strap on my rollerblades and fly along the paved paths, feeling the rush of wind and adrenaline. Zipping along, I made a strange discovery. Some trees along the path would be loud with chirring and others silent, so I started paying some attention to the reasons for the crescendos and gaps of silence. It seems that cicadas don't chirr, and perhaps don't populate, the acacia trees [not the stickery acacia trees common to Africa but the acacia trees that trail white lupine-like blooms with heavenly perfume for 10 glorious days in the spring]. Poplars and pines are favorites as well as a unknown specie of gum tree. The chirr of the cicadas has become such a comforting sound that I associate it with Korea, but unfortunately, I also associate it with a climbing and unpleasant level of humidity.

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