I really wish you could be here with me to see all these fireflies flashing in the growing darkness surrounding our home. It's definitely one of those sights that's much more fun to share with someone else than to digest alone. But since you're not here, I've given myself over to the experience and have become hypnotized by the mesmerizing sight of countless mysterious creatures, each dancing in the glow of their self-made light, while collectively blanketing the landscape with their seemingly random patterns of flickering dots.
The heavily wooded creek beds and relatively large lawns in our neighborhood have always been fairly hospitable to these bioluminescent wonders of the insect world, but this is definitely the best display I've seen in the fifteen years we've lived here, possibly because of the warm, wet winter and spring seasons we've had. Here's a peek:
Elsewhere around around the world, fireflies (sometimes referred to as "lightning bugs") are said to be disappearing at an alarming rate. Nobody knows exactly why, although there's some fairly solid evidence pointing at the increased use of pesticides, as well as the ever-decreasing availability of open, green spaces adjacent to the fireflies' ideal habitat: marshes, ponds, streams and other sources of warm, standing water. Then, too, some biologists speculate that increasing levels of light pollution from homes, cars, stores and streetlight may be disrupting the fireflies' ability to signal each other during mating season - and thereby resulting in fewer firefly larvae being born each year.
Whatever the reasons for their declining numbers elsewhere - and their booming population in our neighborhood - it is an absolute delight to be standing here in the front yard, surrounded by these ever-shifting crowds of luminous beings. What a gift it is to observe my mind being lifted to a higher, quieter space, where it is being emptied out of all the busy-ness of this day by the slowly drifting, ever-shifting field of a thousand points of light. Soon I, too, seem to be floating on the evening breeze alongside the lightning bugs, where I'm gently ushered into full awareness of this precious, present moment by the heady scent of the night-blooming jasmine; the chirping of the tree frogs against the rasping cicadas; the acrobatic bats and night hawks flitting overhead, the moonlight filtered through the trees.
Inviting me to remember, once again, just how much there is to notice and appreciate, how many small miracles seem to escape my attention on a regular basis. These fireflies have been out here every night for several weeks, but I hadn't paid much attention, until now. But now that I have, how effortlessly they rekindle such sweet memories of childhood, while simultaneously opening the door into the Now...
Soon it will be time to go back inside, to wash the dishes and finish writing notes for tomorrow. But, for now, it's enough to stand here a few minutes longer, feeling just a little bit stronger for having stood here in the darkness, watching this peaceful, palpable demonstration of the power of even the smallest light to penetrate even the deepest, darkest night, one moment at a time.