Saturday, 16 June 2007

Well Light My Bum and Call me a Firefly!

Most of you here in Lanark County are used to the cool night critters in and around your lives, whether it’s your cat bringing back a mouse at midnight, or your neighbourhood racoons singing love songs to each other, hoping for a hot date.

But when is the last time you were able to just stand outside, ignore everything else and be delightfully surprised when you see one firefly?

The first time I saw one was when I noticed something blinking neon green in a corner of our bedroom one night. Peter is a fanatic about total blackness when he sleeps, so whatever that alien light revealed itself to be was about to be no more. Peter grabbed a tissue and went towards the light (and survived!). He grabbed the light smooshed it and brought it over to my curious eyes. I really wanted to know what that was.

“Oh, it’s a firefly.” Peter said

“A what!? How cool!” I was immediately a four year old, so excited to see my very first firefly that wasn’t engineered by Disney and The Pirates of the Caribbean ride. My excitement was short-lived as I watched the little glowing critter’s bootie fade and bleed onto the tissue. “Nice.” I muttered. Peter felt bad. I think it’s safe to say that another firefly will not meet its demise by Peter’s hands.

And now here we are in Lanark, and every night at this time of year is a blinking light show.
When you walk outside from the lights of the house into a moonless night that is as black as bottom of a deep, wet well, it takes your eyes a moment to adjust. The porch light isn’t on because it draws too many bugs.

Suddenly, a neon green glow sparkles in front of your face, maybe making you jump back just a bit before you realize it’s one of those fireflies. As your eyes slowly adjust to the inky darkness around you, you notice another glow to the right, followed by a spot on the left, and another. You smile when your eyes have completely adjusted and you see the light show surrounding you.

All you can see in the darkness are the sporadic blinks of the dancing lights, and it’s pretty cool.
Pretending it’s a mosquito-free world, what will your imagination allow you think as you watch their neon booties disappear and reappear in a teasing blink? Do you want to chase after them with a jar, trying to bottle your own lightning, like my mom did when she was a child?

Do you watch your cat jumping like a freak as she desperately tries to capture one for herself?
It doesn’t matter what a neon green light symphony does for you, as long as it makes you stop, appreciate, and be incredibly thankful for these cool critter gifts we have on Earth. Fireflies almost make up for the alien mosquito race. Almost.