My first meeting with this creature was its loud, noisy greeting at Second Chance House which caught me off guard. Unaccustomed to the ways of nature, my senses had no way of finding out what was making the noise. It seemed like someone had put up multiple, invisible speakers. It was my curiosity that introduced me to the age old and permanent residents of Selim Hill Tea Estate – the Cicadas.
Public speaking in its different forms has always interested me. During elocution training, I remember being taught to throw my voice by speaking from the stomach and not the throat. Interestingly, the cicada does not speak with its mouth, it speaks from its abdomen. And what an impact it makes! I don’t understand the language, but then a good orator can be understood by the rise and fall of the voice; the subtle nuances of the pauses. A crescendo in the sound of the cicada is a clear indication that there will be no rain for the next two hours and it is perfectly safe to go for a walk. What a fabulous weather forecast device!
We have all heard of the mythical bird Phoenix which is a symbol of re-birth. However, there is another which is real and literally rises after it has been buried – an insect called the Cicada. This insect lives its entire life in silence under the earth – listening and gathering wisdom. When it is ready, after years of meditation, it emerges into the sunlight and proclaims to the world all that it has learned.
The cicada’s song is truly a swan song. It waits for many years (sometimes even 17 years), for its moment in the sun. It has prepared and polished its song to perfection. Once it has delivered its message, its deed on earth is done. It passes on to the next world. Whether we accept or reject, agree or disagree, it really could not care less. The cicada eats nothing belonging to the earth and drinks only dew therefore it need not please anyone.
Much like the nightingale, it was often caged for its song. But can you really cage a soul? In some civilizations, Cicadas were used as currency. Can knowledge be bought and sold or does it have to be imbibed after contemplation? The cicada’s song is about finding its mate and through this search, to achieve realisation and ecstasy.
This famous Haiku puts forth the entire life of the cicada in very few words. Its silence, its song and then its death.
The cry of the cicada
Nothing in its song reveals
that tomorrow it must die”
Every element of nature here at Second Chance House at Selim Hill reminds me to enjoy every cup of Dorje Tea as if it is my last.
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