Monday, June 30, 2008

Nature's fireworks

There is a magic time of year here - a sweet spot at the end of June when thousands of flickering fireflies light up our yard. We have no street lights and our home is surrounded by dark woods on three sides. The lack of manmade light enhances that of the fireflies into something extraordinary and for several nights at the end of June, our yard is transformed into a light show unparalleled in beauty.

There is no way to describe it in a way that does it justice. Everywhere you look - up, down, left, right - your eyes are dazzled by hundreds of pops of bioluminescence that rival even the most elegant of Christmas displays. Last night in a fit of insomnia, I sat in the chair by my bedroom window and watched, transfixed, marveling the beauty before me.

This is the seventh year that I've lived here. The seventh year that I've seen this incredible spectacle and I've come to anticipate it, eagerly counting down the days starting in early spring when the show returns. This year, I was especially anxious to share it with the girls.

firefly night

The fireflies are just about at their peak this week. Soon, they'll be gone, so tonight before bed, I took both girls by the hand and lead them out into the inky night. They are afraid of the dark and were skeptical, but I gently insisted. They gripped my hand tightly as we crossed the threshold, but within seconds all was forgotten.

Even in the dark I could see the wonder in their eyes. I could hear the awe in their voices as they oohed and aahed. They squeezed my hands tighter, not of fear but in fits of excited joy. They squealed and laughed and hopped with glee. We walked carefully through the yard. At one point, Peanut even forgot her fear and let go of my hand, chasing a nearby firefly through the grass.

They did not want to come in. They were hooked, mesmerized, fascinated, spellbound. "Five more minutes?" they begged.

When we got inside, they both wanted to leave their blinds open so they could stare out the window for a bit longer. How could I, the woman who sat in her own window gazing at the firefly dance just last night, refuse?

I'm not sure if we'll be in this house next summer. We constantly question if it's the right one for us, and there is always a chance that we'll move at some point. I only hope that where ever we end up, we can enjoy the same spectacle. If not, I won't be the only disappointed member of this household.

(Edit: I can't take credit for the picture. I've tried many times to photograph the fireflies in my yard, but clearly don't have the right photographic equipment or skills. This photo was taken by rougewriter3 and posted on Photobucket. There are others - go check them out!)

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Blogger ChemMom said...

what a stunning picture. did you take it?

11:02 AM  
Anonymous XUP said...

If there are any drawbacks at all to living where you're living, this would have made it all worthwhile -- what an absolutely magical picture.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing- what a great picture- I'm so jealous- we don't have fireflies out here in Portland OR

5:38 PM  
Blogger ryssee said...

What a gorgeous picture and a beautiful post!
I love them too. We don't get them where I live, but I remember driving to school and seeing them in the fields-masses of them. Spectacular.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

I love reading your blog, Kimberly. We went for a walk tonight when the sun was setting and I really expected to see fireflies dancing like they did when I was little in Indiana. I was unlucky tonight, but I hope I'll find some soon.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I saw fireflies for the first time when I lived in Washington, DC over a decade ago. Amazing! California doesn't have everything after all, unless you count the fake ones on Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Hey all! Thanks. I didn't take the photo. It was taken by roguewriter3 and posted on Photobucket. He (or she?) has a few other firefly shots - go check them out if you have a minute.

The photo is however VERY close what we see in our yard each evening. It really is magical.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

very cool!

11:53 AM  
Blogger Jennifer H said...

Your story and the photo make me want to cry.

We live in Arizona, where there are no fireflies, and it breaks my heart that my kids haven't seen much of them. We have a lake house in Indiana, but haven't been back there in a while. I'd say it's about time.

This was beautiful.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Rocas said...

It seemed that for a few years here in central Jersey, that the firefly display had been very minimal to non-existent; one here and there and that was it. Fortunately, this year and last, it seems that they have returned with a vengeance; just like I remember them from my own childhood days.

12:48 PM  

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