Growing up in the west, seeing my first firefly seemed to fill some sort of childhood dream that had been lost and ignored. I had always heard of fireflies, I even dreamed of catching dozens of them in a jar and reading by the light the tiny glowing insects put off. Of course, I realize now as a grown-up that fireflies don't put off a constant 20-watt glow, nor are they the warm fuzzy insects reflected in children's stories. In fact, they're kind of creepy-looking up close. But that does not make them any less fascinating to me.
I remember last summer sitting on the back porch of our friends' heavily wooded backyard watching thousands of fireflies light up the trees. It was more beautiful than any Christmas lights I had ever seen and just as enchanting as the tiny lights artfully hidden in the trees of Disneyland. Fireflies to me are the charm of an Indiana summer. To drive down the road with dozens of tiny sparkles leading the way is something I will miss dearly if we were to ever leave the Midwest.
Just the other night, I took my daughter out at dusk to the edge of trees right behind our house. She sat in my lap, and we watched the fireflies come out. We laid on our bellies watching them dance and flicker until the sky had turned dark and the street lamps came on.
It was so simple, and whether she'll remember the summer nights we spent looking at glowing bugs or not, I can't be sure. But I will remember it, and I will tell her about it someday when she's grown.
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Summer is a time of explorations, and no one enjoys exploring more than our children. In these days of far-flung families and friends, many of us are looking ahead to a few trips to see our dear but not so near this summer. The lucky among us may h... read more