Monday, June 30, 2014


From Kate's Writing Crate…


        While driving around running errands, I heard on the radio that June 25 is a half holiday. Since it is exactly six months to Christmas, someone named it Leon Day which is Noel spelled backwards.

        I find Leon Day reminiscent of the holiday for an entirely different reason. At the end of June, thousands of fireflies put on a light show in a nearby old apple orchard that rivals most Christmas decorations.

        Walking down a row between trees, I feel as though I am deep in outer space. On both sides of me, the fireflies flash from ground level to as high and as far as I can see mixing in with the light from the stars. Some fly close by; others are hundreds of feet away, but all as bright and magical as the twinkling lights on Christmas trees.

I also feel a bit like Gulliver might have if he had arrived in Lilliput on an Opening Night and if they had paparazzi.

        This light show is a romantic affair or a giant pickup scene depending on your outlook as the fireflies are searching for mates by madly flirting using flash patterns interspersed with steady glowing to attract attention. However, nothing is ever as simple as it seems in Mother Nature's world. There are femme fatale fireflies that mimic the patterns of males from other firefly species to draw them in only to devour them.

Seduction teaches tough lessons sometimes as attracting attention may lead to other downfalls. According to Wikipedia, forensic scientists use firefly phosphorescence to detect magnesium. It's also thought that the Baroque painter Caravaggio may have prepared canvases with a powder of dried fireflies to create photosensitive surfaces.

        Writers use fireflies as well although without killing any of them, I hope.

Songwriter Adam Young wrote "Fireflies" for Owl City. I'm transported to the apple orchard whenever I hear it.

The Sci-Fi show Firefly, created by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion (now on Castle) and Gina Torres (now on Suits), is a fun adventure show set in outer space. Their ship is shaped like a firefly. I recommend the series along with the follow up movie Serenity

There are lots of books about fireflies as well as many that mention them.

For children, authors Julie Brinckloe and Margaret Hall both named their books Fireflies. The former is a story about the dilemma of catching fireflies in jars; the latter is a more scientific look at the bugs.

For summer reading, enjoy Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and The Summer of the Firefly by Joan Gable. I haven't read either yet, but Cheryl gave me Hannah's book and Gable's came highly recommended by another friend—the best kind of books!

Fireflies take me right back to my childhood—endless summer days, cookouts, and catching them at twilight armed with only a jar and a lid. We had a strict catch, enjoy, and release program in place so no guilt, only fun and a captivating light show.

Do fireflies bring back memories for you?

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