Editor’s Note

Cicadas: on a mission (photo by Steve Green/Vanderbilt University atop Vandy/Barnard Hall)

It’s been 13 years since the last batch of cicadas showed up in Nashville, and I almost forgot how annoying the little boogers can be. Especially when they fly up in your face, bugging out those red eyes, buzzing and swooping and rattling those crunchy little wings.

You almost can’t help making a fool of yourself, running down the sidewalk, arms flailing, shrieking uncontrollably. Not that I would ever do that.

I took a little time to read up on the 13-year brood and discovered a few things that helped me feel a little better about this plague-like invasion.

I know now that these cicadas don’t bite or sting. And, unlike some other pesky bugs, they don’t spin nasty webs, feast on human blood or carry diseases. Their intention, it turns out, isn’t to invade at all. They’re here to do a job, and I’m the one that’s in their way.

[rquote]They are, after all, just doing what their bodies are programmed to do.[/rquote] They crawl out of the ground, sing, mate and die, leaving their offspring to repeat the cycle. They are, in fact, on a journey to fulfill their destiny.

The moment they emerge, they are on a death march and only have a short time to fulfill their purpose before it’s too late. When you think about it, our lives and the cicadas’ aren’t so different. It’s just that they are much more aware of their destiny and the urgency to fulfill it.

So what is your purpose? Ours here at the View is to inform, inspire and motivate you to make the most of your Vanderbilt experience. We want you to know about all of the amazing teaching, research and healing that takes place on campus, and to be proud to be a part of this hardworking, diverse community.

This month’s cover story was inspired by my belief that working at Vanderbilt has a lot of fringe benefits. It’s true: a gorgeous 330-acre magnolia-lined campus that includes a workout facility with a rooftop view, art galleries and towering sculptures, a robust farmers’ market, fantastic architecture and gorgeous walkways. Not everyone can say their workplace boasts all of that.

We hope to inspire you to get out and enjoy a part of campus you’ve never seen or haven’t been to in a while. Take a luxurious walk. Go on a treasure hunt. Plan a picnic. Grab a sketchpad and just go. Sometimes our lives seem an awful lot like the task-oriented cicadas’.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the ride.