June 27, 2016

There comes a time each June when not only are the days warm, but the nights too, at least in the early part around nine when the twilight deepens to dark.  If the air is still, the pleasure of being outdoors in the soft night is usually enriched by the magic of seeing rhythmic pulses of bioluminescence tracking through the darkness…Fireflies…or lightening bugs, which is what my sisters and I called them when we chased them on summer nights through our backyard in northern Virginia. Their numbers are fewer here in central Maine than I remember from childhood, but they seem to be holding their own where we live.  And those jam jars with dangerously sharp holes punched in their lids that my sisters and I used for capture—and, at my Mom’s insistence, quick release—are definitely a thing of the past in our household.

Lights of fireflies
form fluid constellations
with one hazy star.


This remarkable photo was taken by Mike Lewinski of Milo, Maine and is titled “Lupines and Fireflies No. 4.”

Fireflies by Mike Lewinski large


Note: The fireflies that I was able to observe up close last night appeared to be the Pennsylvania Firefly (Photuris pensylvanica).  This is Pennsylvania’s official state insect, but Maine is included in its range.


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