Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lightning bugs striking twice and other modern miracles...

Of an evening, I generally go for a walk with Himself*. We set out from the front porch and mosey on over the half mile or so to the town lake. On our way we pass an evil heeler/chihuahua who runs roughshod around town (and will be going to the bargain-basement ball-snipper if I ever get hold of him, but I digress). There are other dogs we pass, but the treats I carry in my pocket are for the chiweenie I've dubbed Little Miss Muffin in the yard near the lake. :) She flops on her back and I scratch her ears through the chainlink fence, and I suspect that it's the highlight of her day when I come a'callin'. Actually, she's probably got dozens of admirers who stop by and pet her sweet little self every day. I just like to think the admiration is utterly mutual.

One night a couple weeks ago, we were holding hands, walking along and I prattled as I do, and we could see beyond the fender of the car parked on the left of the street what looked like a low-slung, scruffy black cat, its tail dragged along on the ground behind it as it scrambled forward ahead of us along the gutter. No yoked oxen ever moved in such perfect unison as we did when we had stepped forward and then instantly shifted our weight on the back foot and began walking in great strides backward as swiftly, smoothly and quietly as my short little pins could manage. That was no cat. Was a skunk. Ew. *dodged a stinky bullet there.* We've laughed several times about how simpatico we were then, though. I never even broke the meter of my blathering - would perhaps have startled Stinky McStinkerson.

Sometimes there are bullfrogs around, and they always croak their chorus around the lake. "Hey Ladies! Come on over to my pad!" We make up cheesy come-hither dialogue for them. These long walks in a quiet town where they roll the sidewalks up at 8pm started off as a nice way to end the day, but they've become a great joy.

I think things turned a corner when we spotted the first wee handful of fireflies. Oh, that's nice! I hadn't seen fireflies in any great number since childhood. In fact, I thought of any mass profusion of fireflies as a sweet but bygone thing, never to be seen again. Not so. Night after night, I would see more and more of the little darlings. Now when we walk, we see hundreds, a chaotic swirl of portable neon. It's truly dazzling.

In Arkansas, the fireflies we had were about an inch long and absinthe-green. THAT is emblazoned on my brain as what a firefly ought to look like. However, the ones I see here I quickly noticed were smaller, their lights not so intense, but a more bluish light, if that's possible. (compact fluorescents?) Last week, I got up to go to the bathroom about 3am, house completely dark. Surreal moment, there was a glowing spot on the floor, a perfect little circle. Bleary-eyed, I wondered if I was dreaming, and I picked it up. It was a dead firefly, tits-up but still glowing. Only about a half-inch long.

I'm thinking of this firefly variety as not lesser, but just different. I'm a million miles away from my childhood in every sense, and much of that I'd not have back for love nor money. But there is still breath-taking beauty to enjoy in the world. Here's to the simple, unparalleled glory of the lightning bug. Life is sweet. :)

"For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost,
that may be found, if sought." — Edmund Spenser

*significant other


Christina RN LMT said...

I enjoy my leisurely evening walks with my pups and Silver, albeit Significant Other-less. I've yet to see any fireflies, though...maybe they don't live in my neck of the woods?

I'm just enjoying the profusion of different wild flowers...and Mr. Toad, who lives in my front yard somewhere and likes to drink out of my pups' outside water dish at night.

Alan said...

Damn, Phlegmmy.


Jon said...

The last few years have been slow years for fireflys. I'm thinking the overspraying for mosquitos after the hurricanes is the chief culprit. Hopefully, this year will be a banner year.

Buck said...

Lightnin' bugs are a significant piece o' my childhood, too... specifically summers spent at my grandmother's home in Atlanta. I need to google 'em and learn if they have regional habitats, as I suspect they do. But NOTHING beats a balmy-warm southern evening, several friends, mason jars, and swarms of lightnin' bugs. That's about as magical as it gets. Thanks for firin' off those synapses for me, Phlegmmy.

Kris, in New England said...

Ah I live for the moment the fireflies start flickering. Ours are small here in New England - sort of a greenish/blue light. Since we live in the middle of the woods, more or less, we are always surrounded by them.

Always makes me feel like a little kid, I get so excited to see them.

Old NFO said...

Ah yes, Arkansas fire flies :-) And yeah, skunks DO reside in small towns too!

Jon said...

The phrase "lightning bugs" caught my attention. That's what we called them in Southeast Texas. Did you call dragonflies "mosquito hawks"? Or, "skeeter hawks"?

Miz Minka said...

I've never seen fireflies, but I sure enjoyed this post. Thanks for taking us along on your lovely evening walks -- skunks and all! :)

If this were Facebook, I would have clicked "Like." :D

Matt G said...

I'll echo Alan, if you don't mind.