Happy Independence Day to those who celebrate it.


Is there an image that is the quintessential summer image for you? On a night like velvet not long ago with a soft breeze and the moon like a pearl in ink, I rejoiced at the tiny pinpricks of light flickering by the flowers yards away. Fireflies. They fluttered too fast to document on film (especially with my phone buried in my purse). But fireflies always signified summer to me.


Last summer, I saw very few fireflies. Maybe even two. This year, I saw three on one night. I welcome the return of these tiny treasures.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I chased fireflies (or lightning bugs, as we called them), seeking their capture in rinsed jelly jars with holes drilled in the lids. But mostly, we sought to capture the magic of a summer’s night and hold it forever. Sadly, we weren’t gentle in our handling of these tiny creatures. Not with our tendency to poke and push.


Isn’t it funny how we try to hold on to things, as if we could freeze time in a jar?


But I realized, watching the fireflies’ bioluminescence light the night, that something had been captured for me: a little bit of the magic of childhood in the graceful flight of a firefly.

IMG_3186    IMG_3128

The flowers in the yard are lovely this time of year. Hope to see some fireflies tonight!

Firefly photos from and Fourth of July image from Clock jar from Flower photos by L. Marie.

36 thoughts on “Fireflies

  1. Happy 4th of July. Saw the same thing with fireflies here. Last year was mild and we’ve seen more this time. My son isn’t very good at capturing bugs. He has a clap method that results in either a miss or a smash.

  2. Guess what we were doing last night, in the dark, with our grandnephews?

    Jake, at 7, ran in for a jar and came out with one smelling like dill pickles. Tom, headed back in supposedly to poke holes in the lid. It smelled much better when he came out and the boys, both young and not-so, as well as our Jennifer collected lightening bugs, tripping over the croquet hoops they could no longer see. I’m hoping the boys captured more than fireflies and will look back the same way as you are now, having captured more than fireflies.

    Happy 4th!

    • Oh, that’s delightful, Penny! Yes, they’ll remember those moments a lifetime! I used to love to catch them. There were so many!
      Hope you have a wonderful fourth!

    • We’ll see! Someone set off fireworks the other night. My family used to set off a few fireworks. But they’re so expensive now, so we stopped
      Happy Fourth, Nancy!

  3. I have fond memories of chasing after fireflies when I was a child. Where I grew up, there were so many. The first summer night my husband spent with me at my family home, he was overwhelmed with how many there were. Now here in Florida, we don’t see so many and we had many years when we saw none at all. I think part of that was due to mosquito control and the spraying that the town used to do. Now this year, they seem to making a wee bit of a comeback. We’ve been enjoying sitting on our screened-in back porch, at dusk, and watching the fireflies flit about. I love it when they rest on the screen because I can see just how big those little bugs really are 🙂 Happy 4th, Linda!

    • Hope you had a good one, Marie. I did at the family barbecue.

      I’m glad the fireflies are making a comeback as are the monarch butterflies. They had disappeared around here. A firefly landed on my nephew, who promptly captured it.

      When I was a kid, we used to see fireflies by the score! I’m glad to see even one now!

  4. Happy 4th of July! We go up to the rooftop of our building along with our neighbors to watch the fireworks. It’s a rather obstructed view, but I’m glad to live in a friendly building where this is the custom.

    • Sounds like a great time, Lyn. We watched the fireworks at my in-laws’ house. Their neighbors shoot off quite a few–thousands of dollars worth!

  5. Happy 4th of July, even if you are celebrating beating us! 😉 We didn’t have lightning bugs, so we used to capture wasps and put them in a jar. To this day, I’m not sure why…

    • Ha! Thank you!
      Wasps??? You were certainly brave!
      My nephew captured a lightning bug during the family barbecue, so that makes at least four that I’ve seen this summer.

  6. Isn’t it funny how we try to hold on to things, as if we could freeze time in a jar?

    The person who finds the recipe for immortality will become the richest man who ever lived …

    Happy Independence Day!

  7. Gorgeous post, L.Marie. Your language alone makes me feel the magic and mystery of summer. I also share your love of fireflies. I hope your 4th of July was as lovely as this post.

    • Thank you, Laura! It was lovely. I went to the in-laws’ home. The weather was perfect! Not too humid. A nice breeze. We were outside most of the time. We left when the fireworks started. Since we had a long drive, we saw some on the way home.

  8. Do you remember when lightening bugs came in three colors? The greenish yellow ones, the whitish ones and then the very rare orange ones.

    If I think about summer as a youngster it’d be sitting with cousins on the grass at night watching lightening bugs rise up with the baby cousins catching them and us older cousins eating spumoni (spitting out the citron of course!)

    As a teen when we moved to CO, I learned lightening bugs do not dwell in or around the Rocky Mountains…but the stars themselves fill the skies with a 180 degree light-display.

    Enjoy your summer, Linda.

    • Yes, I do, Laura. Now I only see the orange ones. I have to wonder if, like the orange ladybugs, they were introduced to the ecosystem and them took over.

      What a lovely memory! I used to see a ton of them when I’d visit relatives in Louisiana! Of course there were a ton of mosquitoes too!!

  9. II saw once a firefly when I was a little child . I was attracted by a small light in a grassy slope along the road where I walked. It was a kind of worm (female firefly) I’ ve never seen again since .Now I live far from my hometown, but when I pass in this street once or twice a year the memory awakens. Now house have been built at this magic place.
    I understand you tried to capture the light in a jar . It is a child game but which has a deeper meaning . Can we capture the beauty other than with words like you did in this beautiful post.?
    In friendship

  10. I’ve never lived anywhere with fireflies. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any in real life, though I’ve traveled to places where they live. They’re nifty little bugs.

    Your description of your quintessential summer evening is beautiful.

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