Greek cicadas and children: a lesson on listening

Tzitzitzitzitzitzi

Tzi Tzi Tzi Tzi Tzi Tzi

The continuous sound of cicadas invades my ears. It goes on and on. All day long. And even at night, when the full moon tricks the cicadas into thinking it’s daylight.

In Greek a cicada is called tzitzikas – an onomatopoeic noun that immediately activates my sound receptors. What else can a tzitzikas do, besides singing tzitzitzitzi, all day long? Like in the classic Aesop fable, the cicada sings and sings, enjoying every moment of the summer, while the ant works away to store up food for the winter. In the fable, when summer is over, the cicada is hungry and, having no food, begs the ant for some of his, but is denied.

It took me quite some time to catch this one cicada on tape!

Tzi Tzi Tzi Tzi Tzi

Tzi

Tzi

Silence. The cicadas have stopped. I also stop and look up from my screen. Are the cicadas taking a break from their exhausting summer life? Are they reminding me that the summer is coming to an end? 

If I were to stick to the Aesop classic, I would feel OK about working away like an ant because that means that I can survive the winter. But maybe the cicadas are telling me that I should go out and play instead? Maybe there’s a better way to store up the summer energy than working away like an ant?

I must confess that I refused to repeat the Aesop fable to Lorenzo, my year-and-a-half-old son. You may remember from my previous stories how much

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