Questions of a Four-Year-Old

Jack and I were in the car last night, driving home from Dairy Queen. The windows were rolled down and he picked up the distinct sound of millions of cicadas in the trees.

“Dad, what’s that sound?”

Stopped at an intersection, I listened to a sound that I grew up with, one that brought back memories of big ugly bugs and the husks they leave clinging to tree bark. “Those are cicadas,” I said, “millions of them, up in the trees all around us. They make that sound by rubbing their wings together.”

A pause from the back seat. And then: “Oh yeah, they’re scratching their backs, right?”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, something like that.”

He finished, “They’re scratching their backs because they’re itchy, Dad.”

[See Jack’s favorite fruit]
[See one of Jack’s other questions]

[Ed. Note: Turns out they actually make this noise by vibrating two membranes on their bellies. I’ll have to tell Jack this, of course, and I imagine he’ll think they’re burping.]

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