One night this summer I was walking my dogs and not only was there an enormous amount of fire-flies flitting about, there was lightening streaking across the sky, and it was rather magical.
I got curious (as I am wont to do) about how and why their butts light up. I used to catch these little guys in jars on camping trips (among the other bug-catching-prowess-skills I have) and then let them go later. But I never, for whatever reason, thought to find out how and why their butts light up.
These are flickering, flying lanterns. And apparently most of the other types of creatures that light up live under water. So this little guy is rather a phenomenon.
It turns out that they light their butts up with a chemical reaction called bioluminescence (and if you really want the nerdy details, I got them here.)
Now the real interesting part (to me) is that they do this light-bulb-blinking-of-the-butt effect to attract a mate! They don’t just do it to look cool, or to attract human kids who want to catch living light-bulbs!
Now if you catch one, or even look at a picture of one, they are not really “cute” or “pretty” bugs, are they?
Here is a depiction of the fire fly from the entomology department of Purdue:
But the lore of the fire fly, the fairytale, the mystique, and the magic of them is rather interesting.
“Ancient Mayas believed that fireflies carried the light of stars. In Japanese culture, fireflies contain the souls of soldiers who have perished in battle and have represented passionate love in Japanese poetry since the 8th century.” Fire Beetle
When I was a little girl I thought fire flies were akin to fairies, think Tinkerbelle and her glowing self. Now imagine being surrounded by tiny fairies and the sky filled with lighting and you will start to feel the magic that I did.
Magic Is In The Air
When they are not all glowy, they look rather like a regular beetle bug, in fact I caught one that was in my apartment a while after the lightening dance and didn’t even realize he was a fire fly. They are certainly divine creatures, hiding their magic to the ordinary and then when the time is right, they share their innermost light with the world.
The lesson here is that even tiny, apparently ugly, creatures have a shimmering magical light to give to the world.
What kind of light do you show the world?
What kind of magic are you brewing?
Share in the comments below.