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?