Shedding our skin


Photo credit: Author

It’s mid-August and the cicadas have taken refuge in the big oaks in my yard, having dug their way out of the hard earth below. As the sun sets each evening these homely red-eyed creatures sing their songs in the heat and humidity of summer.

This seems to be a light year in the cicada cycle, not as noisy as years past but still loud enough to shake the calm still air each night. I don’t understand or keep up with the cicada cycles. I know that there have been years when the sound is deafening and trunks of our trees and the sides of our brick house are littered with hundreds of exoskeletons.

There is nothing glamorous about a cicada. It’s not pretty, soft or cuddly. It is just a big bug, with big bug wings and big bug eyes. It does do one cool trick, it gets a new skin, a new identity, a new self much like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon only better.

I certainly have days that I would like a new identity. I get tired of mine from time to time and the responsibilities attached to it. The sameness, the monotony grows old. That’s not to say I haven’t changed over the last 50 years. I certainly have less hair, more pounds and a lot more room in my skin than I did when I was 20.

If I could emerge from my current exoskeleton who would I become, a rock star, a movie star, a professional athlete? I guess the bigger questions are what would I lose and what would I gain with this sudden transformation. It’s funny when I look in the mirror I don’t see a middle-aged man with a receding hairline. A man whose jet black curly hair has given way to tightly trimmed gray stubble with a chin that is now plural. What I see is a man who has lived a life in this shell, a shell and soul that as the poet William Butler Yeats says is, “fastened to a dying animal”. It has served me well.

Sure, I would like to be Keith Richards for a day or maybe even George Clooney but would I shed my exoskeleton for theirs? Would I give up my family, my past, and my future for a life unfamiliar, a skin untested. Would you?



About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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12 Responses to Shedding our skin

  1. samanthamurdochblog says:

    Very informative..that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a cicada..they’re odd. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damon says:

    Nope! I like my exoskeleton. However, I could certainly use a little exo-maintenance 🙂
    Enjoyed reading this… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1. A rock-star exoskeleton might have a few more bangles on it, but it’s still an exoskeleton. They don’t get to take it with them when they go.

    2. I love the sound of cicadas chorusing in the evening. I would imagine that’s the best part of being a cicada. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patty says:

    Ieks..what an ugly little creepy creature…brrrrrr
    About the desire to be a different person, even for a day; NOPE !

    Liked by 1 person

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