I have always loved lightning bugs, aka fire flies. As a child in Texas, we entertained ourselves for hours on hot summer nights, chasing lightning bugs, putting them in mason jars and watching them blink.
(Image courtesy of http://www.firefly.org)
Watching lightning bugs and blowing soap bubbles are two activities that bring out the child in me. For many years, the appearance of lightning bugs was synonymous with the arrival of summer. Over time, as an adult, I realized that they seemed to have disappeared from my summer evenings. When we moved to a home on a half acre lot adjacent to 25 acres of vacant land in Dalworthington Gardens, TX, I was excited to rediscover these delightful beetles. At some point, probably about 1990, we suffered with fleas from our cat going in and out and I had our yard sprayed. Suddenly it seemed that the fireflies disappeared from our yard. This experience led me to re-examine my acceptance of common pesticides and herbicides. Since then, I’ve reached the point where I don’t use any of these garden chemicals.
Since moving to Missouri in 2006, the appearance of fire flies each May has marked the beginning of summer, with dinner enjoyed on the deck many evenings. I was excited to witness the reappearance of our lightning bugs, especially in light of the fact that we were under tornado watch 323, and knowing that Joplin, MO had just been hit by a tornado. Waking this morning to the developing story of rescue and recovery in Joplin, I appreciate these simple joys of life even more. Looking at NDC historical data on tornadoes, there have been an average of 8 F2-F5 tornadoes each year in Missouri. I seems like the state has already had that many to date this year.