Thursday 20 February 2014

:: la cigale ::

They're the quintessential soundtrack that accompany long, hot, summer days. Cicadas, or les cigales (which makes them sound a little more exotic!). I'd never quite noticed them here as I have during the last few weeks. Maybe it's the almost-deafening sound that greets us when we venture outside, that ensures we can't miss them! I remember lying in the caravan on our summer holidays in the South of France, where les cigales are a folklore symbol of the Provence and Mediterranean regions, enjoying the peaceful stillness of the early morning before the sun appeared setting off the thousands of miniature percussionists in their treetop perches. Here, it seems, they don't wait for the sun to come up and they certainly don't let its setting cue their rest.

The other day as I went out to hang up some washing, I noticed an empty cicada skin clinging to a tree I passed. Within a minute I had collected several, all empty, fragile outlines of these fascinating insects. Left behind in their process of passing from childhood to adult. I couldn't help but marvel at the beauty of nature as the sun lit up their golden amber skins, so intricate with detail.

As I showed the girls and we searched for more, I wondered what we can learn from this feat of nature. The shedding of the past, former self that, while still holding beauty, is nothing compared to the life ahead. The former not able to hold the magnitude of what lies ahead. In many ways they are the symbol of death and life, which has been my family's experience in recent weeks with the passing of my Grandma. Seeing the body that is but an empty shell, still holding the outer beauty that we knew so well, but realising that the life-filled soul has passed on into another world. Wondering where they are now and what it's like...

It never ceases to amaze me what we can find in the nature all around us. The seasons, the details, the sounds, the smells...each holding a gift to learn from. A knowledge that we're not alone in this great, marvellous universe, and a strong sense, a belief even, that this beauty was created for us to enjoy. All we need to do is take notice...


  1. Beautiful thoughts my love. Especially as we have been collecting them too this week (a class project for Noah). He would be in awe of your collection :-)

    I do think they have been particularly out in force this summer compared to last. Did you also know that the cicada can lay underground for up to 17 years until it hatches and then it only lives between 2 weeks and 40 days? Such a short life for such a long wait don't you think? I'm sure there's a lesson in there too about the patience of waiting for the moment to birth what we were called to do, however brief the moment. You may have just inspired another post from me just now!

  2. Gorgeous and eloquent as always x

  3. This is an amazing post Remaliah. And I like what you have added too Meghan

    1. I think this must be you, mum, logged onto my account ;o) (I'm not really talking to myself!!)

  4. Beautifully written post Remaliah - such a lovely bit of food for thought x

  5. Wow Remaliah, I love that thought of shedding the skin, the soul passing to another life and the skin being left behind. You're an amazing photographer too! xxx