Monday, July 1, 2013

The Journey

With temperatures soaring past 100 degrees for the past week it's been easier to stay indoors and wrap up projects such as writing, organizing, and thinking. It's the thinking that has been at the forefront of my days of late. Quieting the mind has been a challenge as I've been contemplating life, my personal journey and the road that waits ahead. Our community has lost several people this past week; a 12-year-old local boy drowned in our river, a 35-year-old motorcyclist was hit by a tourist with an RV trying to make a U-turn on the highway, and the passing of a friend from the Ridge. Life is temporary, uncertain, and precious. When it hits you that you may have only so many more 100 degree summers left, the heat becomes much more tolerable. Yet it has had me really wondering about my own life's purpose and in what direction I want to set my sails for the future. Life suddenly seems short.

I watched a video recently about a fellow who was living his life's passion and has created a successful KickStarter campaign to fund it. It's a video about the cicadas. (Watch below - film maker Samuel Orr - He's started a Kickstarter page to raise $20,000 for the project.)

As a young girl growing up in the Texas Panhandle, summer's always meant thunder storms, hot weather, and tornadoes and you could almost mark the calendar for the day the Cicadas came to town. They'd show up in groves, attaching themselves to the bark of the trees that lined my grandparent's property and were almost within reach of my bed at night. I'd listen to their melodical music as I'd try to fall asleep on those hot summer nights and today as I think about their journey, and my own, it seems appropriate to share their story...

They’ve been waiting, 17 years. But on a warm night in spring their journey begins. For a lifetime they’ve been underground, alone. But night after night they emerge together, as billions of cicadas gather into one of the greatest insect outbreaks on earth.

They cannot bite or stink and their only defense is to emerge in the millions. But above all, they climb, to seek a secure perch on which to transform. And so they begin the final few weeks of their 17-year lives.

For the first few days, the new adults rest and recover, waiting for their shells to harden. Soon after, the males begin calling the females. Their synchronized chorus is among the loudest sounds in nature. The mating frenzy 3 to four weeks, but after the first appears but not all survive long enough to find a mate. And billions do survive to find a mate. Soon after the females lay eggs and post hundreds on eggs in tree bark. Their purpose now fulfilled after a life span of 6 weeks. But up in the trees, hidden in the branches are billions of eggs about to hatch, each about the size of a grain of rice. They crawl to the edge of the branch and drop away. Insects force them to burrow underground, not to be seen again for another 17 years.

Life is really short for these insects; much shorter than my own decades of life, not to mention they are waiting underground for 17 years in the hopes that they might be one of a few who will fulfill their life's purpose to mate, reproduce, lay eggs and then die within a few short weeks. So what do I have to be concerned about? 

My shell has hardened, my song has begun, and I have a beautiful community around me, so I think I'll go outside and do some living now. Triple digits be damned! 

© Cynthia Stewart is an international speaker and the author of several books, which

include Dream Big! and Creating Wealth on The Web. Through many challenges that she has

faced, survived and overcome, Cynthia knows first-hand how to dream big and has dedicated her life to empower other’s to stand-up, step-out, and reach their dreams. She can be reached at or