The cicada, life, death and immortality

The cicada, life, death and immortality

Death and birth are complementary stages of existence. Death is the oldest, life the youngest; we humans make a mistake in opposing death to life.

Posted at 9:00 am

That’s what African wisdom says. As proof, at the end of life as at the end of pregnancy, care is important: a dying venerable must be accompanied with the same attention as a vulnerable baby. While some pack their bags to embark on the last trip, others prepare to disembark and settle down. I almost see a certain complementarity in the fact that nature takes the last breath of one to make it the first breath of the other.

Why am I telling you about the reaper? Because another old branch of the Quebec artist family tree, director André Brassard, left us this week. In recent years, many of us have been saddened by the departure of all those people who have dilated our spleens, touched our hearts or stimulated our minds. This feeling lived in me after the death of Pierre Marcotte, Serge Bouchard, Paolo Noël, Rita Lafontaine, André Melançon, Pierre Légaré, Janine Suto, Andrée Lachapelle, Jean-Claude Labrecque, Gilles Pelletier, Claude Péloquin, André Montmorency, Bob Walsh , Paul Buissonneau, Frédéric Back, Pierre Falardeau and many others. There are also the more dramatic cases of Karim Ouellet, Patrick Bourgeois or Dédé Fortin who left at their best.

All these creators, who are so many markers of the sociocultural evolution of Quebec, left leaving a great void behind them.

Faced with this observation, a mixture of sadness and nostalgia, it is the image of the autumn cold that settles, taking with it the songs of a generation of cicadas, that comes to mind. Before continuing, I must point out that by mixing songs and cicadas, I perpetuate the same misconceptions as Jean de La Fontaine in his famous fable. The Ant and the GrasshopperAttributing too much virtue and merit to the ant, the narrator can almost be heard berating the grasshopper for its laziness and lack of foresight. However, beyond the value judgment that is indirectly raised about the life of an artist, this fable has nothing to do with the biology of cicadas. in the 19me century, a scientist named Henry Fabre was already rebelling against this legend, which he said testified to a great ignorance of the cicada on the part of its author. More recently, my friend Jean-Pierre Bourassa, the eminent Quebec entomologist, addressed the issue on my radio show with the same critical conclusion.

The cicada does not eat flies or worms. Rather, it sucks sap from plants by pushing its face into branches and roots. She uses this mouthpiece as a drinking straw. It also cannot suffer from cold and hunger in winter because it dies at the end of the hot season. He farts on the fret just before the fret. With such a short adult life, there is no need to mimic the ant and build up reserves. Why buy RRSPs when you’re sure you won’t benefit from them?

As for its musical performances, without offending the narrator either, the cicada is not a singer, but a kind of percussionist, an insect that has more rhythm than voice. In fact, his music is a simple courtship tool that we enjoy without being the recipients of it. Coming out of the ground, the males perform these serenades to attract a mate and mate before they die. Females “prefer” to remain silent. It must be said that playing music exposes males to the risk of being seen and eaten by a predator. But what wouldn’t we do to find love?

Once the reproduction is over, the cicadas fall silent and give way to a sad silence in the trees and flower beds. This is how the lives of these old artists and creators also pass, whose curtain falls hopelessly and far from the public. At least, until television announces his departure and broadcasts the film of his life already shot and edited while waiting for the bad news.

But there is another way of seeing the fate reserved for the cicada by a natural selection that may seem ruthless to us. In fact, while the males and females are dying, their tiny young begin a new cycle. These larvae will remain well hidden underground where they will find food in the roots of trees. As adults, these insects will come out of hiding during the summer months to gratify us with their soothing music. The cicadas die, but the cicada remains! Such is the framework of the musical comedy-drama of the cicada that can be called Eros and Thanatos (sex and death).

It’s his way of taunting the grim reaper and finding his way to eternity in the biosphere. A bit like a great work of art outlives its creator and also grants him a form of immortality. After all, isn’t art also a way of sublimating the consciousness of death, so difficult to bear for the intelligent bipeds that we are?

Selfishly, we would like the artists who do us good to be eternal. Unfortunately, our story is not far from that of the cicadas or the autumn leaves that turn color before giving way to the spray of the next spring.

#cicada #life #death #immortality

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