Suzi Cicada: Chapter 7

“Little Suzi, you came mighty close to being that bird’s snack earlier today. If it were not for the beetle family’s quick thinking and great communication skills, we could not have rescued you. I heard their squeaking from the next log over. I have lived so much longer than you – I am 19 years old. I was just a puny salamander when your subspecies came out last time about 17 years ago. What a racket! What a mess! And it’s a good thing for you that I never forget!”

Suzi did her best not to roll her eyes. Sam’s bragging was annoying.

Not surprisingly, Sam continued. “Within a few weeks, millions of folks like you will dig up to the surface, turn into adults, find a mate and lay eggs. Many will survive for a few more weeks, but a large number will be eaten by birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The only way you’ll be safe is if you get lost in the crowd.”

Suzi was paying close attention now. This seemed serious. “Are you saying that I could get eaten?”

Sam consoled Suzi as best he could. “Well, it is a possibility. Actually, it is…well, never mind. We all will help you live for as long as possible. You have lived a good long life, longer than most any other insect. But everything has a time, a season to grow and, eventually, to die. I know that I will not see too many more visits to the pond. The bess beetles only live as an adult for about a year.

“Hey! I did not know that! Dad????  Mom???,” shouted Benjamin, shooting a panicked look at his parents.

“I promise we will talk later, son,” whispered Chris.

Ignoring Benjamin, Suzi replied, “But I feel like I have so much to do still. I don’t want to end up being a snack for some creature. I want more. Who can I get to change this? It’s not fair!”

Sam smiled sadly. “Of course, you have lots to look forward to. You’ll get to fly. How exciting is that? But you need to wait a while here with us to have your best chance. I am sure your brothers and sisters will show up soon.”

Suzi could not sleep that night. Benjamin did not do much better. The next morning dawned, and Benjamin felt sorry for Suzi. She looked lonely. Suzi had no family, no one fixing her well-balanced meals. In fact, she rarely sipped from plant roots now. Benjamin prepared a prechewed wood and frass casserole topped with fungus.

Read Chapter 8 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 https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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