Lightning Bugs – Magic I Say
Lately, I have been hearing of the demise of the lightning bug. This fact is both distressing and confusing. Distressing, because I don’t want to live in a world without lightning bugs; and confusing because I don’t live in a world without them. I’m not saying there aren’t places where they are in decline and that we shouldn’t be concerned. I know that our obsession with perfection is the problem. We can’t abide, leggy, webbie, dirty, things. So we destroy all insects in the process of eliminating those we’ve deemed “unacceptable”. But, where I live, in Muncie Indiana, in the middle of the middlest United States, we still have them. Every year, I wait for them. The first time I see one, no matter what the calendar says, is the first day of summer for me. If my husband and sons are not with me, a text goes out to all; just two words– light-ling bugs. We call them light-ling bugs because of my oldest sons attempt at pronunciation when he was in his second summer. For us they’ve been light-ling bugs for 25 years. So, until summer is gone I watch for them every evening. I wait to enjoy their elegance, their extraordinary beauty.
But, here’s the even more exciting part. Outside our small city, in the corn and soybean fields, the light-ling bugs are not just present, they are miraculous, and I use the term to mean “of a miracle”. If you are lucky enough or smart enough to drive down one of the low-lying country roads just after dusk but before the darkest of night sets in, you can see a sight words cannot describe. It would take Disney or James Cameron and a team of CGI geeks to create the effect on film and then you wouldn’t believe it. The number of lights, the choreographed movement, and the painful magnificence is matchless. This is nature’s perfection given to us for one short season per year.
This reflection has no moral, no plea for behavioral change, just the desperate hope that my grandchildren’s children will be delighted by their first sightings of light-ling bugs as the harbingers of summer and evidence of life’s desire to live.