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First sign of summer. May 30, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben supposes that for each of us, there’s a distinct moment when we recognize that, no matter what the calendar says, summer has arrived. Your roses are blooming. It stays light until almost 9 p.m. You can smell grilling up and down the street. It’s time to take the cover off the pool. Your tomato plants are setting fruit.

Our friend Ben experienced my own personal “summer is here” moment this past Friday evening, when I saw that the first lightning bugs (aka fireflies) had appeared in the backyard here at Hawk’s Haven, the cottage home Silence Dogood and I share in the precise middle of nowhere, PA.

Silence and I had decided to relax out on the deck with our black German shepherd, Shiloh, and watch the dusk come down. Suddenly, I saw a lightning bug. And then another. And another. Silence and I were as excited as kids with our first tricycles. Lightning bugs! The lightning bugs are here!!!

Our friend Ben loves lightning bugs because they remind me of constellations in the sea of darkened grass, earthly echoes of the unreachable sky. They also bring to mind fireworks, shooting upward from the ground in a grand display before blinking out, or perhaps shooting stars in reverse. And the leisurely pace at which they blink on and off, drift here and there, will set a frantic, chaotic mind at ease faster than anything I know.

Lightning bugs: The illuminators. The peacemakers. Our link to the distant stars.

But this year, our friend Ben was happier to see lightning bugs than ever before, given that in recent years their populations have been threatened by urban and suburban sprawl and the light pollution they bring, fatally disrupting the lightning bugs’ mating cycle. (See my earlier post, “When the lights go out,” for more on this threat.) Thank heavens there are still some lightning bugs in my world and in my yard.

Welcome summer. Welcome lightning bugs!


1. Daphne - May 30, 2010

I always think of lightning bugs as little fairies. They are the magic in the world. I’ve been seeing them for weeks now where we are. Soon they will be gone. I’ll be so sad. I’m guessing at my new house I either won’t see them or they will be fewer. We will be much more urban. Right now it is pretty dark where we live at night, but not so at our new house.

Oh, no, Daphne! Say it ain’t so!! Once our lightning bugs arrive, they’re here until frost. I’d be devastated if they turned up and then left like our beloved snow geese after a few weeks. Let’s hope at least a few continue to visit you at your new home!

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