Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lightning Bugs or Fireflies?

We happen to have an amazing abundance of lightning bugs in Illinois this year. Or maybe you refer to them as fireflies. Something I didn't realize is that they don't live in every section of the country.

Our son and daughter-in-law are visiting from the San Fransisco Bay area in California. When we all returned from dinner last night, they were both thrilled to see hundreds and hundreds of the little creatures flying around. That's when I found out they don't have lightning bugs in California. What a shame! I have always enjoyed seeing them light up the yard or glitter over the corn and soybean fields in the country.

As we all reminisced about catching fireflies when we were young, I thought about all the countless times I had chased & caught the sparkling bugs to try to save in a glass jar. Even though we punched holes in the lid & added in some grass & twigs, unfortunately, lightning bugs cannot be saved in a bottle.

So whether it was with all my brothers and sisters when I was a kid, with my own son or grandchildren, or more recently with our grown kids, watching and catching lightning bugs is one of the simplest and most memorable experiences of summer.

If you have lightning bugs in your area, take time this summer to share the sheer joy of them with someone special. Tell your kids or grandkids stories about them when you were a kid or ask your favorite elder about their experiences. Even better, capture those fabulous stories so you can experience them again in the cold of winter.

3 comments:

JeannetteLS said...

I see them outside my window every night, just as I did fifty years ago, as a child. I have a "nest" among the trees, so sometimes there is a host of them giving their subtle light show. Thanks for evoking the memory.

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

Jeannette,
I'm glad you enjoy them, too! I love it when I can create memories like this with my grandkids. They live in another state, so I don't see them as often as I'd like.

Talking about simple pleasures like this makes it so much easier to connect with them over the phone.

Hmmm, that reminds me of a song - "You light up my life..."

Karen said...

I grew up in Nebraska where these were called "Lightning Bugs." We did the typical things with them... making rings, bracelets etc. But we always released those in the jar.

Professionally, I was a chemistry teacher for many years, and continued to find the topic of light-releasing biochemical reactions interesting.

Is this a beginning for a story?? Thanks for the inspiration!!