The Lightening Bug

| 6/11/2010 4:33:35 PM

Tags: Lightening Bug, Lightening Bugs, Fireflies,

A photo of Shirley Rodeo VanScoykA couple years ago, on a summer evening, we were entertaining my cousins from Australia out on our deck. This is a blue moon, snow in July, extremely rare occurrence. The last occasion that we were all together was in 1959.

At some point in the evening, there was a pause in the conversation and I realized that my cousin's daughter had slipped off the deck in the darkness and was wandering around the yard with her camera. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "I just must have a snap of these fairy lights!"

Can you imagine suddenly seeing, for the first time, the thousands of sparkling, blinking, frantic tiny lights that are my lightning bugs, in the trees, bushes, grass?

Lightening bugs blinking in the grass

Our farm has a completely amazing population of lightning bugs. Down at the bottom of the pasture, at dusk, they rise out of the ground, swirling, twirling glimmering dots of palest yellow, neon green and blue white, the exact opposite of the blanket of dark. I like to watch as they blink, then disappear, to reappear several feet away. To catch them, you have to guess what direction they go, or be fast enough to snatch them with your hand while they are lit. I think I used to be good at this, because I remember filling mason jars with grass and a twig and then using it as a temporary home for dozens of bugs. As long as I left the lid on the jar, I was allowed to have the jar in my room on my nightstand. I would fall asleep to the glowing semaphore they sent. I hope they found love, if briefly, inside the jar.

Because that is what that light is about. Love.

s.m.r. saia
6/16/2010 1:20:29 PM

Rodeo, what a beautiful (and as always, funny!) post. We could all spend more time looking for the light in one another. :0) Thanks!

nebraska dave
6/15/2010 10:55:32 PM

Rodeo, I love to sit on the back porch and watch the lightening bugs put on their show. I think every kid should have the opportunity to catch lightening bugs and put them in a jar as you did. We all in Nebraska have had the lightening bugs in a jar experiences as kids. Some things in nature just can’t be beat and have special memories that come to mind every time we see them. A good display of lightening bugs is one of those events that bring back good happy childhood memories for me. I guess that I never thought that other parts of the world would have the same lightening bug experiences that I have had. I don’t know if I’m quite ready to read by the light from a genetically adjusted glimmering mimosa tree. Would it flash on and off like a lightening bug? I’m kind of glad that people can’t see my glow. Some days it’s on and some days it’s off. Thanks for the glowing information about the love bugs.

rodeo princess
6/14/2010 9:52:02 PM

Wow. what a moment! Thanks for sharing!

cindy murphy
6/14/2010 8:02:30 PM

Oooo, Rodeo, I loved article. We've got gobs of lightning bugs, too, in our yard, and the whole neighborhood. Last Friday, they made their first appearance of the year - just in time, too. The last day of school, and the first evening of lightning bugs - it must be summer. It was just Shannon, my youngest, and me for the evening. We went on a bike ride, then stopped into the video store to get a movie. "Mom!" she yelled while we were riding. "The lightning bugs are out!" We got home, I'm standing in front of the garage with a bike leaning on each hip, and a couple movies in my hands, waiting for her to hit the button just inside the garage that would open the door so I could put the bikes away. It was taking forever; how long does it take to hit a garage door opener button? I was getting impatient. "Shannon! Where are you?!" She's catching fireflies in the back yard, of course. She brings one to me, cupped in her little hands, and opens them slowly, so the firefly remains there in her palm, lit for just a few seconds before it flies away. If that glowy stuff in humans was visible with the naked eye, I'm sure I would have seen it radiating from her at that moment.

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