Mariton: To Be 17 Again

June 5, 2021

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.

Photo by Tim Burris

Do you remember being 17 years old?  I remember turning 17 years old.  It was coincidently the same year that Janis Ian released her hit At Seventeen.  While it wasn’t my favorite song of the year, it definitely reflected the teen angst of a seventeen-year-old.  Since I lived in Michigan and could pick up WABX (the greatest alternative FM rock station*), I heard a lot of Bob Seger’s Beautiful Loser album, with songs like Katmandu and Nutbush City Limits.  I also listened to the Eagles’ One of These Nights, and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.

Photo by Tim Burris

“And the way she looked was way beyond compare.”

But the LP that came out when I was 17 that really captures the gist of this post was Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, I want you to go back to your seventeen-year-old self so you can relate to the Brood X 17-Year Cicadas.  Right now, Mariton is experiencing one of those great natural phenomena that is worth the wait.  These guys have been living underground for 17 years and have a few brief weeks to mate, lay eggs and start the next generation.

Photo by Tim Burris

“Still crazy after all these years.”

The larva that hatched out in 2004 have now emerged as nymphs, quickly sprouting wings and the same cockiness that we acquired when we turned 17.  They sing loudly…  They fly right in your face…  Typical 17-year-olds (and DON’T FORGET IT!)  You just have to love them.

Photo by Tim Burris

“You got your demons. You got desires. Well, I’ve got a few of my own.”

In 2038, it will happen again at Mariton.  But since the larva live on tree roots, they die when humans clear forests for developments.  So, the next time you drive by yet one more construction site, mourn the loss of those plucky reminders of our youth.  Go out and sing like no one is listening.  And be crazy after all these years.

*I’m sure some of you Easterners think you grew up with great radio stations, but they were just pale imitations of WABX.  (So says my 17-year-old persona.)