Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Light Show

One of the things I love in the new ordering of my life (living in the basement and garage, while a young family occupies the main living quarters) is that I am encouraged to use the privy (outhouse). Changing potty habits is not easy, but the results are worthwhile in this case.

It rousts me from the bright, cheerful clutter of the house, for one thing. Instead of separating myself from the land, and the Community of Life that inhabits it, I must go out into it at all hours. I am not a morning person by nature (or genetics), but once I'm outside on a quiet summer morning, when the sun is still behind the trees and the grass is soaked with dew and every spiderweb is a diamond tiara, I'm oh-so-glad to be there. A good start to a good day.

My last walk out, late in the evening, is a fitting reward for a day's work--a resplendent light show in dazzling silence, courtesy of the fire flies. And now is the season for them! Is it Disney World that ends each evening in a grand finale fireworks display? Mine is better, as peaceful as a lullaby.

Tonight's show was especially entrancing, because the fireflies in the trees west of the back yard are flashing in synchrony...or is that harmony? The trees are nearly dark for a few long moments, then it starts: at the north end, a sudden twinkling like fireworks, only silent. And instead of showering to the earth, the bright flickers of light sweep from one end of the tree line to the other! Over and over, in cadence, this sideways cascade of scintillating pinpoint lights occurs.

I could think it was for my benefit, but it is not. The only audience for this show is the female fireflies, wherever they may be. I am just a lucky eavesdropper on their luminous concert.

How rich I am! My first gainful employment (at about age 6) was to catch fireflies and sell them ($1.00 per 100? or maybe it was only $.25) to researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab. I suppose the fruit of that labor was eventually, by some round-about path, the glowing light sticks that children of all ages amuse themselves with at night-time events.

Now I breed them for fun, and don't harvest. Neither do I have any use for the phony light sticks. The shimmering trees are much better.

No comments: