Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Touching, With Notes Of Sadness

     It's July in Indiana and the fireflies are out.

     I went out to the garage to replenish my bottled water supply a few minutes ago.  It wasn't dark yet, barely twilight, but I looked down and saw an airborne firefly flash from behind, a little outline glow, blurred by the cloak of his busy wings.

     I anthropomorphize.  I admit it: I said, "Good luck, buddy.  Hope you find true love."

     He flashed again.  Another lightning bug, a bit bigger, swooped in, just a little higher and slightly behind, and flashed as well.  They were both idling slowly forward and down.  I projected their path and there, on a broad, heart-shaped leaf, was another firefly.  It -- she -- flashed twice.

     The smaller flier landed and sidled up next to her.  She moved away.  The bigger one landed and with all three on the leaf, I could see he was bigger than I'd thought, a real Hercules of light-up bugs.  She moved towards him and they proceeded to...well.  It's what comes naturally to fireflies this time of year.  It's impolite to stare.

     The little guy moved to the edge of the leaf, gathered himself with a quick shake, and took to the air.  I told him, "Better luck next time.  I'm sure you'll find your match."

     He flashed his light, pivoted and cruised slowly off, all attention on the ground, hoping for a reply.

     Good luck, fireflies.  Good luck to all of you and best wishes for even more wonderful evening glowing.

     Those little bugs, hovering and shining their signals on a summer's night, are about as magical as it gets in this world.

13 comments:

Keads said...

Yes. It is magical. Hope springs eternal.

Vinnie said...

The first time I saw them they made a jaded and cynical man giggle. Then laugh.

D.W. Drang said...

Feel kinda sorry for folks who've never watched fireflies, AKA lightning bugs, do their aerial ballet.
I remember back when kids would collect them in jars, with the intent to "Sell them to 3M." (I never heard any instructions for how to sell them to 3M. I was aways content to watch; later, I was grateful for the chem lights that resulted from the collection and, presumably, necropsy of lightning bugs.)

I've since met folks who never saw fireflies/lightning bugs, if they heard of them they thought it was just an expression, stare at you like you're mad when you describe them.
Sad.

Rob K said...

Lightning bugs are the stuff of magic.

Ken said...

I once saw a field with probably thousands of fireflies, on a summer evening in Orrtana, PA about eight miles from Gettysburg. I've never forgotten it. Thank you for the excellent post.

Hammerbach said...

I first saw them on the night of July 3rd, 1976, Gettysburg. My 5-year-old twin girls saw them a few weeks ago in Hampton, Virginia. Those were two of the better hours in my life...

Thanks for sharing this.

The Freeholder said...

Thanks, Roberta. That was nice. There's nothing like a summer evening on the back porch, sitting in a rocking chair, watching the lightning bugs play.

waepnedmann said...

Thanks for that touch of magic.
I had not thought of fireflies in many years.

ProudHillbilly said...

I've seen that twice - a blanket of fireflies on a field. It was breath taking.

ProudHillbilly said...

I've seen that twice - a blanket of fireflies on a field. It was breath taking.

Unknown said...

You need to ditch that broadcasting job and just write.

RandyGC said...

When growing up, the real indicator that summer was here was when the fireflies started lighting up the evening.

Thanks for the memory recall.

Roberta X said...

"You need to ditch that broadcasting job and just write." I wish I could.