Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A recent blog post by my friend Shanna has set me to thinking. I absolutely LOVE fireflies. They are a wondrous miracle. Sometimes I think God created them just to bring sheer joy to our lives. There really is something magical about the soft blinking in the serene dusk of a cooling summer day...

My first memory of seeing a firefly was when I was in kindergarten. We were living in Ohio at the time and I remember feeling like I was experiencing something akin to a real life fairytale. Amazingly, when I was older and again lived in places that I was lucky enough to be around fireflies, I felt the same way I did as a 5 year old. I love that. Sometimes I feel a lot of the magic I found in life when I was a kid has disappeared. Its wonderful to realize that I haven't lost all of it.

I also remember going "firefly hunting." I couldn't help but smile and feel energized during these hunts, no matter how ridiculous I might've looked. I spent countless evenings outside chasing around the blinking lights, earnestly trying to capture one little bug to marvel over in the cup of my hand, without even realizing how much time had passed. Even if I was outside all evening and I didn't catch a single one, I'd still come home thrilled from the experience.

Firefly evenings left me feeling invigorated and happy, all while pursuing my mission: getting me an up close and personal view of one of those lightin' bugs. I didn't always. Sometimes all I caught was the smile on a grown man's face as he jumped around the yard like a child. I guess accomplishment can have many faces. There's probably fewer disappointments to be found with that realization, even in the event of not catching a desired firefly.

Even if I don't actually catch a firefly every time I chase after one I hope that I can come away, glad to have tried anyway. Although I may not have caught a firefly, despite all that running around, I at least learned how cool grass feels between bare toes. Success can look different at one end from the other.

One thing I have learned from these many hunts is that there is a magic hour of twilight when all the world seems to be twinkling aglow with fireflies- but they don't stay out all night. After a few hours you'd be lucky to still find one flickering around. Sometimes though I need to just get out there and watch, even if I don't feel like catching a firefly right away. At least I would be where I needed to be if I ever decided to go after one. Its a few steps closer than sitting inside watching TV and then deciding I might like to look at one, only to realize that by the time I make it out the door it may be too late...

I guess what I mean by all this is that these days I'd rather be out on the porch, ready with my hole punched lid and jar. Just in case.


Michelle said...

There's an episode of My Friends Tigger and Pooh where Tigger gets a close look at a lightening bug...after Lumpy gets afraid and asks if there are thunder bugs too...Tigger laughs and says "He's got a beamer in his bottom!"


Curtis and Courtney said...

This is a great post, Julie. You know, just last night as I took Dusty outside I saw a single firefly and I was mesmerized by it when I should have been watching my own dog to make sure he didn't run into the street or the neighbor's yard. I know exactly how you feel when you see one, I feel the same way.

Bradford said...

I like this a lot, you're a superb writer Julie.

Kimberly said...

Ahh...fireflies...what fun!
I love to get lost in their light. Their glow. They carry it all on their own and sometimes I wish I could be like them. Maybe that is why I am also mesmerized by their little beamers. :) Did you buy your ticket?