Suzi Cicada: Chapter 5

New experience fell upon new experience with such speed that Suzi could not separate one from the other. Her eyes saw colors and shapes, she heard whirring and crunching. The breeze tickled her skeleton, and her feet could hardly keep her bulky body upright. For the first time ever, she did not have soil or rocks nudging her from all sides. She giggled in delight. What freedom! What relief to feel warm light, to see what the next step brings, to venture out….

Suzi fell on her back, all six legs clawing the air helplessly. Above, she saw a shiny black eye on the side of an enormous fuzzy head that was cocked in her direction.  Pincers horrifically bigger than the beetle’s thrusted towards her. She heard Sam’s low voice rumble.

“Hey bird! I’m tastier that that crunchy old beetle!”

The blue jay lunged at Sam just as he darted into a crevice under the log. Benjamin and his dad tackled Suzi, rolling her under the log. Irritated, the bird flew off as children raced down the path.

“What was that?” shrieked Suzi.

“A bird,” gasped Benjamin, rather indignantly.

“But the salamander told me that the early bird gets the worm. I’m a cicada, not a worm. And why did Sam call me a beetle?”

Benjamin’s father kindly replied, “Sam is right. The early bird does get the worm, but many birds eat many kinds of insects throughout the day. Sam knows you are a cicada. He just needed to distract the bird with a word that he figured the blue jay knew. Most insects are a type of beetle, you know. Your kind of cicada does not come around very often. Much better to appeal to the bird’s hope for a bigger meal. Birds are not considered too bright – at least by us log folk. “

Suzi realized just how close she had come to disaster.

“Thank you for saving me,” she responded. Then she remembered. “Is Sam all right?”

“Sam is fine.” It was Benjamin’s dad again. “He’s been living under our family’s log for almost 20 years. Or so he says. None of us bess beetles, or any of the neighbors, have lived long enough to remember. He said for you to stay put until he catches up to us again. He wants a word with you this evening.”

Another deep breath. “I’m in no hurry now to get out into the light,” assured Suzi. “Let’s wait together, please. I’m so frazzled I feel like I could crawl out of my exoskeleton.”

Read Chapter 6 of Suzi Cicada.

Author Suzanne Holland is the Visitor Center Manager at Hidden Oaks Nature Center, which is home to lots and lots of cicadas!

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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