Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life without Fireflies

How is it that I have reached this advanced age in life without knowing that fireflies do not exist everywhere?

My realization began to dawn when I read an account of a couple from California who had taken their family on a road trip across America. The were driving through the midwest on a summer's evening, passing through thousands of acres of farmland. It was dusk and suddenly they realized that the fields were alive with fireflies, blinking their morse code messages.

They quickly found a place to pull off the road and they wandered through the edge of the field, amazed at the beauty and silence of the scene. The woman stated that it was a moment that will stay with her till her dying day.

Yes, it is that magical and wonderful but how is it that I didn't realize that fireflies haven't built themselves little Conestoga wagons and made the trek out west? I'm curious as to the barriers that have prevented them from spreading.

My wish is that everyone could experience fireflies on a summer's evening. I can't even comprehend not having them announce the evening's arrival.

Here's a cool video for all my friends who live in areas without fireflies.



Actually, when we were kids we called them lightning bugs.

Did you know that a lightning bug can save your life? It's true. Here's my story, "Life and Death in the Cornfield". Many of you have read it before but I'm linking to it for those who haven't.

LIFE AND DEATH IN THE CORNFIELD

Apparently fireflies synchronize. Who knew? Here's a link to the Museum of Science which has a firefly watch and range maps.

FIREFLY RANGE MAP

FIREFLY WATCH

If you don't live in an area that has fireflies, I suggest you put this on your Bucket List.

Be sure to check into Farm and Fru Fru and read about her HOLY COWS.

15 comments:

Jenni said...

What a beautiful story! It's a good reminder that no matter how grim things seem at times there is always joy to be found if we open ourselves up to it.

Fireflies (or lightning bugs--I say both) are one of those little bits of magic from childhood that never dies. I suppose it makes sense that they are not found everywhere--most species have their own range--but it's hard to imagine a childhood without them. As an adult, there is still a little moment of joy when I first see the fireflies light up the sky. I could sit and watch them all night--if it weren't for the mosquitoes.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

I have a "thing" for fireflies. I collect them, which is very, very hard to do, lol. There is just something magical about them. They are one of my very favorite things on earth. Thanks for bringing them up!

Ang. said...

You are not alone! I did not know this until last year when my then 6 year old asked me what they ate. I found that they usually eat nothing and occasionally eat each other. And I also discovered that they require a tropical environment to live. I guess the hot and humid Midwest qualifies as tropical! I think we are so lucky to have lightning bugs here.

Elora said...

Hi, Suzanne!
Barbara at Folkways Notebook recently posted her experience of seen synchronous flashing of lightning bugs. Fascinating.

I am originally from the Pacific Northwest. No fireflies there! So, when I took a trip home to visit family--in the summer--I packed a few fireflies in a jar, in my suitcase, I was able to share the miracle, first, of the fireflies....second the miracle that they survived! My family was thrilled!

Glad you're back!
Elora

Vee said...

You know how I feel about "Life and Death in the Cornfield." I think it's the best piece I've ever read in Blogdom that's what.

I remember fireflies from my childhood, but sadly, I've not seen many lately. I wonder if the bats are getting them?

myletterstoemily said...

i love fireflies, too! and now i am sorry
for the poor folks who have never seen
them.

please don't tell me that fairies don't
exist.

Cindy said...

Oh, how I love lightning bugs! As a kid, I would capture the critters and keep them in a ventilated baby food jar - that is until I felt sorry for them, and I'd set them free. Many happy memories of chasing them around the barn yard in those glorious summer evenings.

I believe that I heard my first locust/cicada (We call them locusts) a few nights ago. You know what they say about the first locust/cicada........

Thanks for sharing such interesting information, Suzanne! Love your blog!

Lisa D. said...

My mother-in-law and I were just talking about fireflies yesterday!
Supposedly there are some here in northern Alberta, but I have never ever seen one. She doesn't remember seeing them more than a couple times since she was a kid. Of course, there are few opportunities to go looking for them, seeing as twilight doesn't come until 11, 11:30 at night all summer.

Anonymous said...

Our fireflies just go blinking crazy after the July 4th fireworks!

dina said...

When I was 27 I moved to Michigan from Oregon to be the baker at a conference center. Imagine my awe and surprise to "meet" fireflies! The kids who lived at the conference center taught me all sorts of amazing things - like how to write messages on your arm or legg with the little guys. (sad!)

I loved sitting out on the porch of my cabin and just watching the fireflies - truly amazing.

I'm pretty sure 2 of my 3 kids have never seen them, either. I've got to get them a little further East so they can experience them one of these days!

Mary Rex said...

I went home last evening and watched my fireflies, newly thankful that I live within their range.
Here is a cool little website link about them.
http://www.backyardnature.net/lightbug.htm
The story about your step-father is so touching. I enjoyed reading it again. Thanks for your wonderful post.

Linds said...

I live in England, and I have never seen firflies. Sigh. Thanks for posting the video! And yes, it is going on the list.....

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I've never seen a firefly :sniff: I live in California and we don't have them here.

ms said...

I just stumbled onto your blog when I googled a question about firefly habitat. FANTASTIC BLOG!! Like some others who have posted comments, I lived in the South as a child and have oh so many wonderful memories of fireflies' magic. I linked to your story about your stepfather, and it was a beautiful story.

Keep posting, Suzanne! You're a great writer.

ms said...

I just stumbled onto your blog when I googled a question about firefly habitat. FANTASTIC BLOG!! Like some others who have posted comments, I lived in the South as a child and have oh so many wonderful memories of fireflies' magic. I linked to your story about your stepfather, and it was a beautiful story.

Keep posting, Suzanne! You're a great writer.