It's not exactly every 17 years!



Just like clockwork, they are showing up. In 2004, I stopped going out on May 12. Was today my last day of freedom?

They’re not where I live yet, but they are closing in on the Washington, DC metropolitan area. They have been spotted in Fredericksburg, Sterling, Manassas, Lorton, Clifton, Fairfax, and even in Arlington! Today, the Cicadaphobia TweetDeck that I set up to filter everything containing the word “cicadas” or the hashtag #cicadas was practically flooded with pictures taken by users who live in the above-mentioned locations. It was a sad day for Northern Virginia.

There are still no pictures on Twitter from users in the District of Columbia or Maryland, but the WNYC Cicada Tracker map shows cicadas have been seen or heard near Adams Morgan and Brightwood in the city, in Potomac and Silver Spring in Montgomery County, MD, and College Park in Prince George’s County, MD, while the 2013 Magicicada Brood II Sightings map shows that in DC cicadas have been spotted near Cleveland Park and even downtown, in the Dupont Circle area!

Waking up to such discomforting news, I sat for hours staring at my computer screen in a mix of shock and disbelief, pondering whether I should take out the trash or stay safely indoors. The view from my windows was reassuring: no holes in the ground (though they would be hard to see from the third floor), no beasts on the trees or flying around. But still… Finally, it started raining and I mustered up the courage to venture out. They don’t drown in heavy rain, but it’s harder for them to fly…

So off I went and… I couldn’t see any trace of them! At least not on the way between my building and the closest dumpster in the parking lot. No holes, no nymphs, no shed skins, no ghostly teneral adults, no grown-up beasts. This is wonderful, but I wonder if it’s because my apartment complex is across the street from a creek. The temperature here is always a little lower than in the rest of the neighborhood. Maybe the soil is still too cold for them to emerge? Is it possible that I’ll be so lucky to actually escape the plague this year? Work seems to be a “clean” spot, too — or at least it was until yesterday. Will this last? Will they pop up eventually? This uncertainty is so nerve-racking…

But they’re definitely closing in and they’re definitely coming out. A few more days, and I should finally know my destiny…

How about you? Are they out in your area yet? How are you coping? It would be interesting to hear from more cicadaphobes now that, in some places, the beasts are already out and about!

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