One of the cicadas fell onto my shoulder. I brushed it off and looked up. In the leaves above me hundreds of red eyes and glittering wings hung from trees like bizarre fruit.
I woke up from my dream and listened to the cicadas’ song. Suddenly I remembered what was hanging from the porch. They hung my dog. And next to my dog they hung my daughter.
THE MEANING OF CICADAS BY WENDY RITCHEY 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 49
The young folks, Cowtail and Steps, sped ahead of me. I couldn’t keep up, but I always eventually caught up with them again. Cowtail’s dog scared me, so I preferred to walk alone anyway. They’d run on ahead, then stop for a rest day in town. I just kept on walking slowly, each day resting briefly, along the way, rarely taking ‘zero-mile’ days in towns. With no money to pay for lodging or food, time in towns just made me feel deprived. Out in the forest, I felt better, surrounded by beauty.
My sponsor’s scant bi-monthly food buckets gave me something to look forward to. Every so often a Trail Angel left a cooler filled with sweet cakes along the trail. “Alms for the penitents,” the cards on these hampers read.
If only my dear Stephen were with me, …