I have found my fair share of things to complain about here in Nashville. I’ve already talked about the heat – although I’m not sure that my words have conveyed the depth of my suffering. There are street corners that flagrantly (not fragrantly) reek of sewage – by the Wendy’s on West End, or across the street from P.M. on Belmont Blvd., for example. Smog is a recent development here in Music City, as is the discovery of RABID BATS raising hell in the Green Hills area.

But there is something that I haven’t mentioned yet. A very good thing. One of the very most magical things I have ever seen: fireflies.

I have never lived in a place with fireflies before, and before I saw them, I don’t know that I really believed that they existed. A firefly was an idea in my head, in the same category as the Eiffel Tower – a nice thought, but relatively meaningless since I had never seen it. Late this spring, when I finally did see the little lights glowing in the front yard at dusk, I was mesmerized.

I have no idea “how” a firefly works, and to be honest, I don’t want to know. In our world of knowledge and explanations, there are very few things left that literally enchant us. I could sit on the porch and watch the fireflies every night through the summer, and never tire of their simple brilliance.

Not that it’s bearable enough to sit outside or anything.



  1. Sarah on July 22, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    I love watching fireflies too. They don’t have them in Louisiana either and in a way it was one of my deciding factors for moving here.
    On another note, I have to get out of my office job. The ficus trees! It’s like a forest of disappointment!

  2. rachel rianne on July 22, 2008 at 8:46 AM

    last summer in colorado i would talk about how pretty it was and how nice the weather was for the season, but i complained about there being no fireflies.
    this summer in portland i talk about how pretty it is and how nice the weather is, but i complain about there being no fireflies.

    i’ve started contemplating spending my next summer in the midwest solely for the fireflies.
    summer isn’t quite the same without them.

    oh, but just wait for the end of the summer locust’s chorus.

  3. luke on July 22, 2008 at 9:57 AM

    actually no one really knows how fireflies work or exactly why they do what they do. there are theories out there, but my favorite came from my friends, that from above you can see that all together they are creating a great work of art. which also makes you feel better if you hit one with your car or something, because that was all part of the project.

  4. erin castioni on July 22, 2008 at 10:47 AM

    that’s how i feel about fax machines.

    and how upset would you be if i told you that when my brother and i were little growing up in missouri we used to pull the glower part off of a fire-fly. Don’t worry, they still live. They just don’t glow. SORRY, it will never happen again.

  5. Rebecca on July 22, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Aren’t they amazing?! I never before thought about the fact that not everyone grew up with fireflies (or “lightening bugs” as we used to call them as kids). It always seemed that August was the biggest, most “sparkley” month for fireflies in PA. At night, in a more rural area, you can see hundreds and hundreds of fireflies “blinking”. I think they’re the only bug, besides ladybugs, that I’m okay with letting them walk on my hand. :)

    It’s fascinating if you squish and smear a firefly and the “glow” part still glows….smear across the wall, of course. (I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I haven’t done that since I was 10.)

  6. wrecklessgirl on July 22, 2008 at 5:45 PM

    i once took a drive from chicago to wisconsin at night. and for the very first time, i witnessed what you are describing. i was in awe the entire drive. i wanted to tell the person driving to pull over just so i could stand out in the middle of the corn field and take it all in.

  7. Greta on July 22, 2008 at 6:50 PM

    Ohhhhh— FIREFLIES!!

    I want some…!

  8. Anonymous on July 22, 2008 at 8:09 PM

    That is how we convinced friends of ours to move out here from UT to MI – just a walk in the neighborhood around dusk, and let those little guys do the rest.
    We are so evil.
    p.s. (note: do not read if you really want to stay enchanted as to ‘how they do it’) Another great fact about those wonderful bugs: they are looking at the chemicals that they combine in their rears, that make the glow, to see if they have anti-cancer properties (due to their spontaneous reactions I guess).
    Just one more way that fireflies can save the world.

  9. Lyla on July 22, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    The alley between 3rd and 4th and Pine apparently tried to kill my boyfriend with the reek of urine the other day…and we don’t get fireflies here. See, you knew there was a reason you moved.

  10. Kelli on July 22, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    Ohhhh fireflies! When Jarom was going to Notre Dame we would go up to campus and watch the fireflies. It was almost like randdom fireworks! They are so magical!

  11. Lyla on July 22, 2008 at 9:54 PM

    Kyle says, “Dude, it was SO BAD. I nearly choked.”

  12. Sarah Kate on July 23, 2008 at 7:25 AM

    I have never lived in a place WITHOUT lightning bugs. I wonder if they have them here in Texas. (Danny says they do. Yay!!) They’re magical and i will for sure not take them for granted anymore.
    By the way, Corner at Wendy’s and West End…stank for YEARS. No idea why.

  13. THE PARSONS on July 23, 2008 at 8:18 AM

    welcome to this part of the country, where colossal beauty is not found in mountains or oceans, but in fireflies. :) Pair their beauty together with the amazing cuteness of micah and tyler running after them trying to catch them, and you have one full nights entertainment!

  14. Sarah on July 27, 2008 at 12:25 PM

    I saw my first fireflies in the summer of 2001 when I was in Alabama… ah, I want to go back!

    They’re not impressive or large or scary… they’re mesmerizing or magical or enchanting, like you said.

    I’ve missed them since I left and I hope they migrate to the Oregon Coast, one of these days =).

  15. Nicolas Frisby on August 1, 2008 at 8:48 PM

    Couldn’t resist: luciferase.

Leave a Comment