Friday, July 2, 2010


I stepped outside last night to a partial yellow moon glowing on the horizon. It was not high enough to cast much light. The usual oppressive humidity has been absent the last few days, allowing for comfortable summer weather including very cool nights. There was a gentle breeze. It was perfect.

Fireflies, unless you are in Kansas where they are 'lightning bugs', were rising high into the heavy canopy of the trees. In the absence of local light pollution, their luminescence is remarkably bright. A single flash illuminates a surprisingly large area, most easily judged when the insect is among the leaves. They are not always as high in the trees as they were last night. It was difficult to tell the stars from the fireflies glittering in the limbs. I had to look directly to see the difference.

Their curving silent flight, their slow cycling glow in the deep summer darkness must surely be the source of our belief in fairies. To the patient eye, the random flashes will, every several moments, all light at once, as if the courting insects are participating in a silent song of light.

There are always lightning bugs in my house, on the windows, in the curtains. I have even found them in my hair. I always put them back outside so they can find a mate. The world can not have too many fireflies.

1 comment:

cyberkit said...

Amen! I love lightning bugs. They are spectacular in a river bed with trees on either side providing a canopy. I can (and have) watched for hours with the reflections from the water multiplying the light. I miss seeing that on a decent Kansas night (of which there are three or four a year...)