I don’t go out to evening events very often. Being a morning girl has been a huge factor. But sometimes there’s just something so wonderful happening that it’s worth getting out and staying up late.
That’s what happened last evening – and I took Goodnight with me.
I actually wore a gown. I can’t remember the last time I went out in a gown! And Goodnight had a gown appropriate for her age as well.
It was spectacular! What a show. It was a free event, too. We didn’t have to travel very far, so that was another factor that influenced my decision.
I’m sorry not to be able to share photos. It was too dark to take any.
Goodnight and I were watching fireflies!!!! Our gowns? Night gowns, of course!!
Goodnight had already been in bed a while and I was closing up the house, ready for bed myself. A little flash of light caught my eye and it looked like someone smoking a cigarette walking across the lawn in the dark.
I waited to see who it was, but when the light moved away from the darkest shadows in the yard, there was no one walking at all. I realized it was a firefly. the last time I saw one had to be nearly twenty years ago.
I darted to a different window in the house, and sure enough, there it was.
I knew Goodnight had never seen on, so I woke her up. By the time she got to the window where I last saw it, it had disappeared. So . . . . we headed outside for a peek – nightgowns and all.
Goodnight told me she felt like a robber sneaking around in our yard. I didn’t. I knew if we saw them, she would love the show. In less than thirty seconds after we stepped outdoors, we saw one again.
Goodnight watched in amazement. It was circling the front lawn at a distance. Soon, it flew toward her, zigzagging a bit, and darted over her head, up over the roof and around toward the other side of the house. We slowly crept around the corner of the garden to see if we could spot any more.
We did! There were only a few, but enough for us to stay and watch the show for a longish while. Officer Friendly and I bought the house ten years ago and I’ve never seen fireflies here before – so I enjoyed the show as much as Goodnight did.
I know that fireflies are beetles, and they like rotting wood and other things on the edge of ponds or wetlands. I can only hope that the rotting wood that attracted them doesn’t have anything to do with my house!
I suppose there could be a science lesson involved here, with a detailed description of bioluminescence and the chemical reaction involved when the fireflies emit their light, and the flashing patterns typical of different species, and how mating signals differ from danger signals,but that can wait for another time.
There’s a time and place for everything and for now . . . . it’s summer. Time to enjoy relaxed evenings without a homework schedule. Time to enjoy the flexibility of stepping outside to watch a very intriguing backyard show. Time to be still and enjoy Goodnight’s amazement as she watches fireflies dart across the lawn, flirt with her and scoot away.
I know that children share stories about what they did over summer vacation and many will have travel stories to tell. But I hope, included somewhere amid Goodnight’s fond memories, she’ll tell of the night she stepped out with her Gram to attend a magical light show.
THE PILGRIM’S DREAM or THE STAR AND THE GLOW-WORM
by William Wordsworth (1818)
A PILGRIM, when the summer day
Had closed upon his weary way,
A lodging begged beneath a castle’s roof;
But him the haughty Warder spurned;
And from the gate the Pilgrim turned,
To seek such covert as the field
Or heath-besprinkled copse might yield,
Or lofty wood, shower-proof.
He paced along; and, pensively,
Halting beneath a shady tree,
Whose moss-grown root might serve for couch or seat,
Fixed on a Star his upward eye;
Then, from the tenant of the sky
He turned, and watched with kindred look,
A Glow-worm, in a dusky nook,
Apparent at his feet.
The murmur of a neighbouring stream
Induced a soft and slumbrous dream,
A pregnant dream, within whose shadowy bounds
He recognised the earth-born Star,
And ‘That’ which glittered from afar;
And (strange to witness!) from the frame
Of the ethereal Orb, there came
Much did it taunt the humble Light
That now, when day was fled, and night
Hushed the dark earth, fast closing weary eyes,
A very reptile could presume
To show her taper in the gloom,
As if in rivalship with One
Who sate a ruler on his throne
Erected in the skies.
“Exalted Star!” the Worm replied,
“Abate this unbecoming pride,
Or with a less uneasy lustre shine;
Thou shrink’st as momently thy rays
Are mastered by the breathing haze;
While neither mist, nor thickest cloud
That shapes in heaven its murky shroud,
Hath power to injure mine.
But not for this do I aspire
To match the spark of local fire,
That at my will burns on the dewy lawn,
With thy acknowledged glories;–No!
Yet, thus upbraided, I may show
What favours do attend me here,
Till, like thyself, I disappear
Before the purple dawn.”
When this in modest guise was said,
Across the welkin seemed to spread
A boding sound–for aught but sleep unfit!
Hills quaked, the rivers backward ran;
That Star, so proud of late, looked wan;
And reeled with visionary stir
In the blue depth, like Lucifer
Cast headlong to the pit!
Fire raged: and, when the spangled floor
Of ancient ether was no more,
New heavens succeeded, by the dream brought forth:
And all the happy Souls that rode
Transfigured through that fresh abode,
Had heretofore, in humble trust,
Shone meekly ‘mid their native dust,
The Glow-worms of the earth!
This knowledge, from an Angel’s voice
Proceeding, made the heart rejoice
Of Him who slept upon the open lea:
Waking at morn he murmured not;
And, till life’s journey closed, the spot
Was to the Pilgrim’s soul endeared,
Where by that dream he had been cheered
Beneath the shady tree.