Daily Archives: February 27, 2012

Cicada beats

A fellow blogger at Ruth’s reflections was wondering what triggers the sudden appearance of our noisy, New Zealand summer companions, the cicada. It seems that the cicadas in Christchurch had come out en masse about the same time I noticed an upsurge in numbers here in Porirua. They are late this year but in the past two or three weeks the air has been crackling with the songs of the males.

I did a little investigating and found that soil temperatures around 22C certainly spur on their growth but the interesting information that captured my imagination was this piece:

“Maori and native Americans share an interesting link with cicadas.
Both identify the insects with the Dog Star, Sirius, which is at meridian in the summer sky when the nymphs emerge.
While many people do not realise that New Zealand has more than one type of cicada, Maori recognised 12 types based on their song and identified their arrival with the Dog Star, named Rehua after a forest deity. Cicadas are considered to be his protégés.
Various native American tribes have names for the insects that can be translated as Dog Star cicadas.”
Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=174350

Is there a star gazer out there who can tell me when Sirius appeared in the sky above New Zealand this year….perhaps the powerful light of a star is the tipping point for masses of cicadas to emerge from the ground and begin their short but noisy lives?

Shakespeare at the beach

Some time ago there was a local newspaper article about Russell Plume, a local Plimmerton resident and former geologist who was picking up pieces of brick off the coast near Plimmerton beach.

He gradually collected a lot of bricks. Some were whole and others simply odd shapes and pieces. All had been weathered by the sea or by the streams and it was thought that they were washing up from an old quarry.

A friend commented that he had enough to spell out the works of Shakespeare and this spurred Russell on to producing 9 panels of quotes from Shakespeare using the bricks just as he found them. None have been altered in any way.

Here is one I captured yesterday on a sea wall at Plimmerton Beach. My timing was not in tune with the tides yesterday which meant I could not walk along and take photos of the other panels. I will do that another day.

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The linked article gives you more details but I also hope the panel he made as a gift for Christchurch will reach that destination and bring hope to its residents.

“What is the city but the people” (from Coriolanus), is a fitting quote.