Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Darkened Nights

Do you like the black square? Not so much? Kind of depressing, right? Just sort of....there. With no real charm or inherent glamour.

This is a sight seen more frequently these days. I'll bet you have witnessed your very own "blackness" too.

The decreasing number of fireflies in recent years has been cause for concern to amateur observers, scientists, and kids of all ages. Many are asking the question: Where have all the fireflies gone?

In decades past, childrens' leisure activities took place largely outside, and when it got near dusk, excited youth, including myself and my friends, would wait to see that first flicker of light, ever so brief but unmistakable: the fireflies were starting to come alive. Here they would dart, there they would scurry, leaving a luminous trail of phosphoresence behind, thrilling anyone who was lucky enough to spot them. Caught in jars, with airholes so they could breathe (they were so special, one surely didn't want them to die), we would believe we had caught lightning in a jar. How we would marvel at their special ability to light up our nights. Even with the bright lights of Houston around us on all sides, this glow was special.

The news of the declining numbers of fireflies is indeed distressing. If we lose this most special part of summer, there will be nothing to replace the joy of watching fireflies. Is it too much man-made light pollution? Parasites or other biological invaders decimating the firefly population? Environmental changes? Or something else?

When is the last time you sat outside and watched lightning bugs just for the sheer joy of it? Did you catch fireflies when you were young? I remember well going to the drive-in theatre in Houston as a child, one of our favorite activities as a family, and as it got closer to twilight, the show began before the REAL show began; that is, the fireflies would start appearing in the bushes next to the fence, and there would be entertainment for all before the movie even began. To me, that was the best thing about the drive-in. Rarely did I pay attention to the movie. I would watch those fascinating flickers of light, and listen to the sounds of the frogs and cicadas, that unmistakable din of summer, and be lulled right to sleep.

Here is a good website to visit to learn more about fireflies and how to make your yard a friendlier environment to help boost firefly populations. You can even learn how to become a firefly "counter" to help monitor populations around the country.

So tonight, take the time to peer outside at dusk. If you see a flicker or two, consider that a sign that one of nature's treasures is still around, and hopefully will be forever. I believe that if we lose our fireflies, we will lose our childhood innocence. I never want that to happen.


Truth Ferret said...

I too fondly remember the fireflies in our yard and then captured for awhile. Thanks for the informative post.

Edith Ann said...

I can't recall the last time I saw a firefly in town! Perhaps they are best seen out in the country.

But I can remember catching them in a glass jar--we didn't have clear plastic containers then--and running around (with a GLASS jar no less!) the yard until they dies.

Thanks for making me think of that Sugar!

Pilot said...

unfortunately, circumstance has me exiled to a place that is foreign to me, and I know not whether there are or not places here where lightning bugs may be seen. I am pretty sure there are other things and people who might glow in the dark here though. Next time I am home, I will borrow a bike and ride my old trail, that before divorce, unemployment, and lethargy, I rode nightly and saw the fireflies in great numbers, and see if they are still there and report back.

Sugar Magnolia said...

Glad y'all enjoyed the post. I still see them from time to time here in the stix, although not as often as one would think. I remember seeing them alot in the Piney Woods of East Texas when I would visit my grandparents and great-grandmother, though.

Nice to hear from you, Pilot. I will be awaiting your report. Don't be a stranger, ya hear?

Kyle said...

Not being a Texas native I never knew you could find fireflies this far south. I had seen them often living in Virginia some years ago but, sadly, I've yet to spy these beautiful insects here - and I live out in the boonies!


Sugar Magnolia said...

Thanx for stopping by, Kyle!

They do appear every now and again around these parts, although, sadly, it seems far less often than in years past. It seems in the summer when the days are longest is when you see them most. Maybe they actually like the heat, or else wait so long for it to get dark, they are especially excited to put on their magical show, and make it extra-special. Keep looking! I am sure you will see a few sooner or later.