Today, I was doing a little yard work early in the morning. In the distance I could hear one of the most unusual sounds I imagine one can hear. It was the sound of the thirteen year locust. They had been singing their mating calls for a couple of weeks already, but this morning the cacophony sounded in stark contrast to an otherwise still, quiet morning.
If you have never heard these creatures, from a distance their voices sound a little like the sounds of the Martian ships from the 1953 movie classic, The War of the Worlds. It has an alien sound, and a friend of mine who had never heard them before actually referred to them in that context as if we were being invaded by an unknown species. It is a high pitch “warble” that undulates in a peculiar frequency. Perhaps these creatures are what inspired the Foley artists on that now infamous movie. The alien sound contrasts significantly against how they sound up close. It is a constant din that sounds like the whirling of a weed eater.
I’ve done the calculations. If someone lived to be 120, they will have only heard this sound thirteen times (fourteen if they heard it in the first three years of their lives). The locusts’ song does not last very long either…perhaps a month or so at most. In a couple of weeks, they will die off, not to be heard from for another thirteen years.