May 27, 2022 11:49 am

Unveiled. The cry of the cicadas

Lying face down on the hot stone, fresh out of the pool and still dripping, we are following with a wet finger some tiny fossils of plants that we found days ago. They look like ferns or rather corals and when we touch them the water darkens them and they look much better. My friend’s brothers are older and they explain to us how they got trapped there. A kind of polaroid of the geological past.

For me they are fascinating. I imagine them green and alive, surrounded by dinosaurs, and I spend the rest of the summer in that field in Azul looking for them among the slabs around the pool.

We take for granted that every corner of the planet is full of animal sounds. However, it was not always like this and except for the noise of the rain, the wind and the sea, the earth was a silent place. If there were sounds, no one was there to hear them.

In those times without landlines in rural areas, much less cell phones, my parents had agreed to pick me up at the end of the summer and agreed on a day of arrival with the owners of the house. That day I woke up early knowing that they would come. I had breakfast excited, imagining the stories I would have to tell them. When noon approached and they hadn’t arrived, a tiny monster settled in the middle of my stomach that grew larger with the passing of each hour until it crossed my chest and finally settled in my throat. They were not going to come, but not only that: something terrible had happened to them. That’s how my childhood mind worked. With that certainty and at the same time deluding myself with every dust cloud that rose on the dirt road, I stopped and sat down, stopped and sat down, staring, trying to recognize a car.

The mistress of the house tried unsuccessfully to distract me with games and talk, but I could only watch the road. The song of the cicadas and that of the birds became an unbearable nuisance that made it impossible to distinguish an approaching engine.

We take for granted that every corner of the planet is full of animal sounds. However, it was not always like this and except for the noise of the rain, the wind and the sea, the earth was a silent place. If there were sounds, no one was there to hear them. Even with the appearance of life, those first beings – microbes and organisms similar to the aguavivas current – ​​were quiet (and deaf). It took millions of years for insects to start buzzing and give the world his particular music.

Perhaps it was the temperatures of these weeks in Buenos Aires that made me remember the cicadas and that feeling that they sang louder in my childhood than they do now. The city was in continuous boil and I hardly heard them. Could it be that they dim a little in the city, like the skies with stars because of the lights that dazzle?

At Los Angeles Natural History Museum, paleontologist Michael B. Habib studies fossils. He patiently puts together the pieces of a huge puzzle to try to understand, among other things, when that silence was broken. No one can pinpoint a date, but insect fossil finds some 250 million years old show an anatomy already capable of producing sounds. The remains are so well preserved that they even allow their song to be reconstructed. “This is an ancient cicada that emitted songs at a frequency of 6.4 kilohertz, one octave higher than the highest note recorded by Mariah Carey,” explains Habib in an article for Scientific American.

The rest of the terrestrial species would take time to perfect themselves and develop vocal talents. Among the virtuosos of his time, science came across the Parasaurolophus, a nice herbivorous dinosaur with a beak like that of a duck and a large crest that would serve as a sounding board to emit an energetic and wide repertoire.

Perhaps it was the temperatures of these weeks in Buenos Aires that made me remember the cicadas and that feeling that they sang louder in my childhood than they do now. The city was in continuous boil and I hardly heard them. Could it be that they dim a little in the city, like the skies with stars because of the lights that dazzle?

But that afternoon they shouted like never before. I wanted to silence the cicadas, silence all the birds, the splash of people in the pool and calibrate my ear to rescue the sounds that came from the road. I wanted to hear my parents’ car. I wanted to know that they were okay and that they hadn’t forgotten about me.

Finally, in the distance, with the almost vertical summer sun, another cloud of dust rises on the road. As the car pulls up to the gate, however, it’s not my father’s silver Taunus. There are a few moments of terror, but I recognize them when I see them go down. There are kisses and hugs and explanations of mechanical problems and last minute trades for my mom’s car. The song of the cicadas, even today, reminds me of the eternal hours of waiting. I don’t know exactly how many there were, for me it was millions of years and the feeling remained intact, like the tiny ferns on that slab.

Reference-www.lanacion.com.ar

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.