This past weekend (June 20 – 23) the city of Dover hosted the annual Firefly Festival, a raucous weekend akin to the historic Woodstock Music Festival of 1969. Firefly features dozens of musical groups, most of them currently popular (and therefore not of much interest to me).
Dover area residents have learned to make sure that any errands they need to run for that weekend should be completed before the crowds arrive, since traffic can be snarled day and night as motor homes, camper trailers, and folks arriving to occupy hotel rooms come in droves, making it unusually difficult to navigate. The event becomes a mixed blessing, since we who live within a five mile radius of Dover Downs must contend with the impact of having so many people here at once, but are also grateful for the economic boost that Firefly offers.
A marvelous coincidence occurred last weekend. I noticed it when I took Evelyn’s service dog, Kianna, out for her evening “constitutional.” Just as the Firefly event was opening, actual fireflies made their debut appearance in our neighborhood. Do the concert organizers know that this is when the little bugs begin to emerge, and so schedule their event to coincide with it? Or is it, indeed, just a wonderful coincidence?
I’ve always liked fireflies (or lightning bugs, as we called them when we were kids). I remember going outside at night with a glass jar in hand, holes punched in the metal lid (because the little critters had to breathe, after all). Fireflies were so easy to catch, almost as though they got their personal pleasure from seeing us happy. If we didn’t put them in the jar (to be released later), we would watch them walk to the end of one of our fingers, pause, spread their wings, and suddenly take off. Simple pleasures.
As it happens, a firefly landed on my arm just this past week, and all those memories came flooding back. Evolution apparently hasn’t affected either their appearance or behavior. The easily-recognizable bug explored the skin and hair of my arm with its erratically-moving antennae and eventually decided it was time to “fly away home,” pausing, spreading its wings, and taking off.
Then, last night (again, as I was walking Kianna), I looked into the row of trees that line the field across the street from our house and saw the most remarkable sight I’ve seen in a while: thousands of fireflies lighting up the trees like so many twinkling Christmas tree lights. It was a sight I couldn’t keep to myself, and since I didn’t want to rout Evelyn from bed, I routed Karlyn from hers! I think she sincerely appreciated the moment. It’s a show with a limited run time, and I’m pleased that she and I got to be in the “audience.”
After all these years I still like fireflies.