Just After Sunset

Just After Sunset

As the sun dropped closer to the horizon, we noticed some beautiful colors in the sky - almost certain there would be a dramatic sunset that evening, we stopped and watched. Almost every minute, the sky was completely different than before. The windy conditions moved the clouds across the sky quickly, so we never knew exactly what would happen next.

A lot of times, the sky turns out more colorful and dramatic in the minutes after sunset, and this was true this evening. The bottom of the distant clouds were illuminated by the sun, while the clouds away from the horizon were beginning to become dark. This created some drama over the lake as our summer day came to a close.


I had to check the records this morning, I was certain we weren't ready for the 17 year cicada here in the Chicago area. I looked outside to find several cicadas emerging or the "shells" of their former selves prior to molting.  I continued to look around and found hundreds in other parts of my yard, including rows of the empty shells on my apple tree.

Cicada Shells

The always seem to be either on vertical surfaces or under the low, large branches of trees. I think the critters climb out of the ground, and up whatever surface is nearby. Because tree branches extend outward from the trunk, the cicadas just keep climbing until they're upside down. Some fall to the ground to molt, and others cling as best they can to the bark.

Emerging Cicada

I usually find the empty shells and the adult cicada somewhere nearby. They emerge, then dry off and fly away.  Today, I found a few in the process of emerging. It's an interesting process, and looks quite a bit alien up close.

Adult Cicada

The adult cicadas have red eyes, just like the 17 year periodical cicada, but they seem a bit smaller. It seems this year there is supposed to be a large number of cicadas - someone keeps track of these things! The 17 year cicadas are expected to emerge in 2024 - I've been waiting since 2007.