The Not So Lonely Firefly

| Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fireflies in a Cornfield - By Art Parnell

When we were kids I remember summer always brought lightning bugs, or fireflies as some may call them. We would find a jar and go to collecting. As kids we weren't so kind to the little creatures, often leaving them in the jar with just a few holes punched in the top and a few blades of grass in the bottom. They seemed abundant when we were kids, but i rarely see them now.
Ironically I am scared to death of junebugs. They send me into a tizzy. But there is something about this soft-bodied flying beetle whose bum lights up as it flies. They are magical to watch, unlike anything else on earth.

They have a special meaning for me, though. The night of my mother's memorial service, we came back to our parents home to find hundreds of fireflies in their front yard. They were just everywhere, but only in his yard. You could look across the street and see the normal one or two blinks, but right there in my dad's yard was a dance of lightning bugs I had never before seen.

We lingered a while and just like I did when I was a kid, I moved into yard, focused on one of the lights, slowly followed it and  lifted my hand to gently scoop it up in flight. It takes a special technique to catch them and not hurt them. They seem content to let you look at them as they crawl around on your fingers then lit off with a flit of their wings. There were so many in the yard that night, they were voluntarily landing on my shoulders.

Right there in my parents yard was a personal performance by night only. A private little miracle presented just for us. So after that night, when I see that fluorescent green flash it brings me comfort and reminds me that my mom is with me, watching over me. I always smile, and say hi to Mama.

Recently I witnessed another miracle of the tiny flying insects in Maryland. Next to our hotel was a cornfield where thousands of fireflies danced across the green field. I ran in and got my video camera and caught it on camera. I was happy. It was caught on video to share this special event with my friends and family. I couldn't wait to show everyone. But fate was not so kind. My camera fell from the motorcycle and exploded across I-40 in Arkansas. That 30 second video was the first thing I thought of. It was heart-wrenching. I began to grieve for the loss of the video and for the loss of my mother.
I received a package in the mail today from my friend who was on the motorcycle trip where I lost my camera. In that package was a children's book entitled "The Very Lonely Firefly" by Eric Carle. It was a story of a lonely firefly who is attracted to all kind of lights...flashlights, lanterns, fireworks...on his search to find friends. In the end, he finds the friends it was seeking. The special end of the book is when it is open, it flashes the greenish-yellow lights just like the real thing.

It is amazing that my story of the firefly video took a twist. I lost a video, but gained a life story in the end. A story of how a friend cared enough to find that special thing to turn a tragedy into a happy ending. An ending knowing that my mom is still with me, guiding me and lighting my way through life.

(Thank you Teresa, you give me courage)

©2010 Laura Smetak All rights reserved.All photos and stories on this blog are copyrighted and use without the artists express permission is prohibited.


Evi said...

A nice post about those magical, little fireflies. I saw them as a child many times. What wonderful, little creatures. Thanks for sharing your images and thoughts about them.

Lipsmack Studio said...

Thank you Evi. They are little magical beings aren't they.

blessedintx said...

As I sit here, playing with my laptop, "flitting" from page to page, I thought of this page. I absolutely don't know how I missed this picture and story. It has not been all that long since I looked at your pics.
I have told that story to people, but never as well as you tell it here. I remember watching, stunned, from amidst all of them as you walked among them. We were so blessed to get that message from our Mama and for all of us to be there...So hard to believe that was over 10 years ago. I love you, Little Sister