I was headed downstairs the other day. I saw something on the carpet at the base of the stairs. I figured it was a piece of glitter or a shiny piece off my jeans pocket. When I got to the landing I bent to pick it up. Was very startled to wind up picking up a lightning bug. It was no longer moving, but still glowing. Must have come in on the bottom of a shoe, I mused, and then floods of memories.
I have fond memories from childhood of hunting and catching lightning bugs. First we would pound holes into the lid of a jar. (Lids were metal then before plastics took over manufacturing and metal became rare.) We would capture the bugs in our hand and then put them in a mayonnaise jar. Yep, a glass jar we were allowed to run around with! The more you caught the harder it was to get it in the jar without releasing the others or squashing it in an effort to close the lid quickly. If I was particularly lucky, I was allowed to keep the jar in my bedroom over night. Nothing quite like the magic of falling asleep to blinking fireflies!
This year in mid-spring when I saw one in the daytime on the window screen I couldn’t wait to tell Bob. He said he had seen one, too. The first brood was in early May, but they never last long. Now in Mid-June we are in the type that live about 2 months.
Amusing that we see these in the middle of the night. (No, I have not ‘stayed out late’ and tried to catch any in years.) Bob and I both wear Fitbit step counters. They also monitor our sleep. He says that sometimes when I roll over in the night mine lights up. Or if he gets up and returns to bed his lights up. Says it is like having giant fireflies in the bedroom.
As a real child, growing up allowed to explore the natural world as far as our yard and one or two others, some kid (probably one of the boys from down the street that we played “War” with), taught me that if you step on a lightning bug on the sidewalk and smear it, it will glow. Turns out we were triggering the chemical reaction that the bugs produced in life to create their bio-luminescence. If you want more information click on this link: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/fireflies/
So thank you little beetle for bringing me such joy for my entire lifetime. I was amazed when nephews and nieces visited from California and they had never seen fireflies.