The best summer fireworks are provided by fireflies, those bliss-conjuring, blinking beetles that fly (I hope) in the backyards of your neighborhood.
I had an intense, spiritual experience communing with fireflies two years ago while on a silent retreat near Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As I was walking up a hill, returning to my hut after dusk, the shadows of the forest were a dark green-blue, and the sky was lit by luminous stars. As I came into a meadow, my jaw dropped at the site of hundreds, maybe thousands, of fireflies flying around and blinking in the clearing near my screen door. It was like they were having a busy convention there in my honor. So I had the stars above me, and huge numbers of fireflies surrounding me. Light above, light around, light within, as I was discovering. This amazing moment is something I’ll always remember and be able to call upon in dark times. I stood there a long time enjoying the show, unable to move really, rather incredulous that it was happening.
The web boasts a lot of firefly facts and information. Some of the most interesting data comes from amateur entomologist, Terry Lynch, who expresses his love of the insect in wonderful ways (just follow the links) . He’s studied the habits of the adult Photinus pyralis species, photographed their larvae, and even developed rearing techniques. He also has strategies for firefly preservation, seeing the irresponsible development of pine forests, and mass insecticide sprayings as the biggest threats currently. And here’s a great photo from National Geographic.
As I looked around for other resources, I found this Firefly collage/poem by Karen Hatzigeorgiou. It captures my feelings about the world’s best bug, and I know will appeal to you, too.