Insects remind us how we’ve changed

Fireflies are a type of beetle. Some say there are more than usual in Nashville this summer.

I am reading on the screened porch with a bowl of pesto pasta, and the cats are pawing at insects fluttering on the other side. It is long past eight o’clock but it’s been dark only for an hour or so, and I look up for a minute, distracted by the lightning bugs. They are everywhere again.

A few days ago someone asked if there were more than usual this summer. Lightning bugs, or fireflies, (what you call them seems to be determined by geography, age, and whether you need the shorter word for a headline or Twitter), do seem to have staked a claim on Middle Tennessee this June. I thought this may have been because of the floods in May. Lightning bugs are a kind of beetle, and as larva they prefer soggy, wet soil where their food lives. They fill up on slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied animals before developing into the winged insects our children trap in mason jars. The spring floods in Tennessee killed more than 20 people and left billions of dollars of economic damage, but it seems they also created a firefly baby boom.

Could it be we have a lovely footnote to our tragedy, or is this just wishful thinking from a person looking for light?

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We are always graduating from something

May is graduation month for many high schools and colleges. To mark the occasion, friend and fellow writer Jackie Johnston asked several folks to guest blog on her site, JayeWalking.com. Our assignment: Answer the question: “What advice would you give to the Class of 2010?” Jackie has collected an inspiring assortment of posts, ranging from her fellow publicists at Thomas Nelson to her father. When she asked me to be included among them, I felt honored and perplexed.

What could I impart?

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