“Speak Up” mixed media collage. Jordan Kim, 2019.
A friend who knows of my strange love for the loud, jarring buzz of cicadas presented me with this card for my birthday. Fashioned from repurposed material, these snippets, chosen with artistic precision and care, strike deep…
Sing loud & proud
wants to sing
The world’s loudest cicada is the Brevisana brevis,
a cicada found in Africa that reaches 106.7 decibels
Earth itself has a sound, an incessant hum
caused by pounding ocean waves
measured at a frequency 10,000 times lower
than what humans can hear
For now is the time of cicadas; some of them, sleeping underground for seventeen years, are due to rise.
Yesterday, when the sun was brightest, I walked and walked the path around the graveyard of a country church, listening for the first strains.
Seems they are late. I wonder why.
I thought about their wings, how the sectional lines running through the lower portion of these long, diaphanous structures form the letter W or P. It is said that these are omens for War or Peace.
Unless Nature is a prophet.
Whatever pattern lies in the veins of their wings, or however it’s perceived, the cicada’s song is always one of life. Of survival. It is individual. It is collective. It is precious.
Most people call it cacophony, a harsh, deafening, discordant noise … not hearing the song for what it is. Not recognizing it the way cicadas do. We are not cicadas.
Yet there’s something of us, of all living things, in the sound. A song not heard with ears but with the heart, that ceaseless hum of our own brief journey from the womb to the ground. A song of earth, ocean, dust of the stars, for we are repurposed atoms of these; we carry them all, and each other, within us. Can we even hear our own song, any more than we can know our own heart, for what it really is? How can we even think we know someone else’s?
Until it becomes a collective cry of the heart.
wants to sing
even in sorrow, loss, grief, despair
even in fear, rage, hurt
especially in overcoming, healing,
rising, at long last
to greet the season of change.
Today, Two Writing Teachers shared words from Toni Morrison: This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore the pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.
Like that of Jordan Kim, who created this cicada collage. Her mission: To inspire others to honor our connection to the natural world and to each other.
Let it be our repurposed song, fashioned from the fragments of our hearts. Let it be positive. Let the Earth ring with it.
Sing loud & proud.