31 May 2007

Seventeen-Year Locusts

Yick. I can't even bring myself to take a picture of them. I'm sure you can find some if you look around. They have arrived in Chicagoland, and every day there is a bit in the paper and on the news about people eating them and other such nonsense. I'm not big on bugs, aside from butterflies and non-wool-eating moths and spiders (in the abstract), so all these cicadas and their shells give me the heebie-jeebies. I even bought some little tennies to walk to the park in, since I can't bear the idea of walking around in flip-flops just now.

Anyway, I was just about Isobel's age the first time the came around during my time on this earth, and I don't remember them at all from that visit. But I was home from college the last time they appeared and remember them. Walking to the train every morning to work downtown was an adventure, thank goodness it was the late 80s/early 90s and I could wear sneakers with my little girl-power outfits until I got to the office.

And the sound! I guess enough of them are out of the ground now to put together a pretty good chorus. Yesterday I thought I heard them, but today I know for certain.

The return of the locusts highlights the passage of time for me and how strange it is to be back where I grew up. Seventeen years ago I was in the midst of transferring from school in Washington, D.C., to St. Louis, changing from an International Studies major to majoring in English with a minor in Ancient Greek. And I was dating the man who would lead me to Boston, though I had no idea that is where I would go.

It's strange how life can bring you full circle, though it's true "you can never go home again." My room isn't even used as a bedroom anymore, so I sleep in the guest room. Isobel is in my sister's room, so it's still the "baby's room". We even found ourselves calling Isobel "Mary Beth" by accident, though that hasn't happened lately.

I feel so conflicted being here, enjoying Isobel, and spending time with my family yet missing my husband (well, the man he was once, anyway), my friends, my pets and home, my career. My New England.

I've always called Wilmette "home", even once I owned a home, but Boston/Gloucester/New England became my home, too, over the past fourteen years. "Pop" is "soda" for me, now. I can drop my R's with the Kennedys. And I still keep tabs on my Boston Red Sox, though I'm a lifelong (and a fourth generation) Cubs fan.

Guess that's where I am right now, feeling unheimlich, though I'm at home. Things will get better, I know.

The sweater sleeve continues, and I'm still ruminating on the mobile project.


  1. I agree with your YICK!

    Isn't it funny how "home" is a relative term when you get older? I've lived here for about 15 years, and I consider this home when I am traveling. But I always refer to my family as still living "back home."

    I guess it's similar to how immigrants must feel.

  2. Home is relative, it's where those you love are. However, since you have people and other things that you love in middle America and New England, I can see your quandary.

    We miss you, too (even though I haven't seen you in a while). Take care of yourself, and your friends will always be there for you.

    And, also: it's weird to think that you've lived through 2 cycles, and are going on your 3rd, of 17 year ANYTHING (but especially locusts.... ick!)


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