Remember the Fireflies

May 28th, 2009

The last week of school for our 2nd grader.  It’s been a busy time, and a rainy one too.  But it looks like the sun may finally be coming out for a few days tomorrow.   But the magic of late May includes fireflies!  We saw great numbers of lightning bugs come out for their annual twinkling festival a few days ago.  I awoke past midnight the other night and it was like some dazzling array of fairies dancing over the fields- sparkling and twinkling everywhere.


Like clockwork too the young boy dreamed of a chance to go catch a few.  He wanted to stay up late then, but it was too late for a school night.  We waited until last night, with today his last, half-day of school.  At dusk last night we head out searching and didn’t see any at first.  Finally one appeared before us, flashing its luminous signal to others of its kind. 

“There’s one!” I yell, and I try to grab it as it flies higher and over some rose bushes just out of reach.  “I see it!” he yells, and with a singular intent that made my heart swell the boy locked his eyes on that firefly and gave chase with cup and lid in hand.

With complete abandon he sailed over the rose bushes at a full run toward the patio and made one great, flying leap higher than I’ve ever seen- and bam!  He captured that firely right in his cup!   My jaw dropped open as he landed, and turned around triumphant, with a great smile on his face.  “I got it!” he says with glee.  I tell him I’ve never seen him jump so high and we exchange big high fives.  As if that’s not enough, another firefly appears a few feet away and he turns and quickly grabs it barehanded in mid-air. 

Later that evening he fell asleep looking at his two new friends as they flashed and glowed near his bed.  He lets them go in the morning, but they bring such joy and magic to our lives each year. 

And I’ve got visions of my son leaping over challenges in life, intent on achieving his goals.  I know it won’t always be that simple.  He’s reaching the age of measuring “self” and has begun to wonder about the larger world around him.  I hope he remembers the fireflies.

7 Responses to “Remember the Fireflies”

  1. R. Sherman

    I’ve too many memories of chasing lightening bugs and trying to fill a jar to have a flashing nightlight in my room.


  2. Brings back a lot of memories, not only of catching lightening bugs but of how much farther my vertical jump used to be.

  3. Oh man… I hate to say this, but we used to catch them and rub them on our pants so they would glow in the dark. Yuck! Catch and release is much better. :)

    I’m envisioning similar things for my 2nd-grader. Lots of high-5s around here too! :)


  4. It’ll be a few weeks before we get fireflies… I like it when they hit a windshield and you get the yellow green glue running down the windshield.

  5. R.- That’s great, a buggy nightlight. I used to do that too.

    Ed- Vertical jump? What’s that!?

    Ron- Hey, that was “fashionable” back then- I knew someone who mashed them on her finger tips- she wanted glow-in-the-dark fingernails!

    Sage- I haven’t seen that in a long while

  6. pamela

    My daughter enjoyed lightening bug night lights. Once she forgot to replace the lid when she told them goodnight, so her dad and I had an indoor lightening bug chase while she slept. Happily, we didn’t experience smashing lightening bugs. Yuck.

  7. Pamela- That’s pretty funny, and a great memory :)

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