Suzi Cicada: Epilogue

Benjamin kept close watch from the edge of his log. He popped out every evening and walked among the cicadas that littered the forest floor. One evening, he found her. Suzi looked different from the chunky brown larva he had met less than two months ago. He recognized her anyway. Friends do that even after a long time apart.

Ben poked Suzi. “Wake up. I have big news. Come on Suzi, talk to me!” Suzi gazed at Ben.

“Hi, buddy. I really just want to sleep. I have laid more than 30 nests of eggs, and I am so tired.”

Ben studied Suzi. He retreated to his log and returned with three of his siblings. Suzi dreamed that she was being rocked to sleep as Ben’s family pushed her under the log. When she woke, she was surprised to be surrounded by bess beetles.

“Hi again, Suzi. I want you to meet my new little brothers and sisters. And guess what! I am going to be a father myself! My eggs are safely tucked in frass,” bubbled Benjamin.

“How very wonderful, whispered Suzi. “And you must have done a great job with your cocoon building. Look at all your siblings.”

Ben nodded.  “I have been searching for you. I hoped that you had success laying eggs. I did not want you to be alone afterwards. I saved the hole you popped out of in the spring. Would you like to snuggle there for a while?” Suzi could not imagine anything better, and she wished her friends a goodnight.

A month passed, and Ben missed Suzi. He kept a lookout for little white insects falling from the treetops. One day, it seemed to rain rice. The newly hatched cicadas scampered to the edge of their branch high in the trees and launched themselves. After they fell, little white insects quickly crawled down into the soil. Ben was thrilled as he called out, “Hi! I knew your mom! Well, maybe your aunt. Hey there, wait a moment!”

But not one would stop. Each newborn cicada wriggled as fast as it could down into the dark, cool soil.

Ben slowly turned and wandered back to the log. He called together his brothers and sisters and boys and girls. “I have an important story to tell you. You must promise to share this story with your children and make your children promise to tell their children. It is an exciting tale with some happy parts and some sad parts and a few life lessons.” Ben waited for the children to stop groaning.

“Now, hush! This story must be shared. Suzi’s children will be away for 17 years, and it is up to our family to help them learn to count on friends. Friends are the family we choose, and Suzi’s family is part of ours.

Once upon a time there was a cicada named Suzi who could not wait to grow up….”

The End

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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