Fading Fireflies

by Mark on September 7, 2010

Summer is fading and so is the firefly, otherwise known as the lightening bug. In the quarter century that we lived in Upstate New York a firefly is a rare sighting. Of course most beings with wings, including ‘snowbirds’, tend to escape our arctic enviornment. It appears fireflies are disappearing even in warmer climates.

According to the Museum of Science in Boston, two factors are reducing the population of fireflies: development and light pollution. These winged-beetles flourish on larvae from rotting wood in piles or forests. Expanding communities minimize trees and decaying wood piles. Fireflies communicate to each other by light. The amplification of municipal and private security lighting blind their ability to contact each other. Firefly.com suggests way that we all can reinvigorate our lightening bug population, like adding wood piles, creating ponds, and turning off outside lights.

Generations joyfully pursued fireflies. Peering in the darkness, we willed them to flash. Finally, at that seam between the evening twilight and the night’s curtain, one . . . two . . . and then several blinks. The chase began with giggles and shrieks. It is one of those summer images seared in our memory that may eventually fade, like the lightening bug.

Thank goodness we have a few verses from Robert Frost to brighten up our nights,

Fireflies in the Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies.
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.

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