Warm, still humid nights are a great time for firefly watching. Firefly, lightning bug, glow worm, lantern fly … call it what you will, these unique insects enchant us all this time of year.
On our honeymoon, my wife and I walked down a country road near the bed and breakfast we stayed at outside of Great Bend. While walking, we came upon a little draw off the side of the road and watched in wonderment as a hundred, possibly more, fireflies flickered around the foliage. It was a simple gift as we began our lives together.
One of my favorite lightning bug stories comes from my Grandmother Vondracek, who grew up a Tatro in the Willowdale area of Kingman County. She told me several times, with a smile, about one creative classmate who came to one of their country school dances wearing a dress that flickered with the lights of several dozen lightning bugs beneath a sheer, outer covering.
Concerning fireflies, one question many of us likely have is, “Why do they glow?” Here is what answers.ask.com revealed: “Fireflies glow to attract a mate. Both sexes have the ability to light up. The light comes from cells in their tail which produce luciferase enzymes. This enzyme causes a chemical reaction which produces the light.”
In any case, fireflies will likely always have a place in our imagination and most likely were the inspiration for at least one Disney character. I’ll let you guess which one.
So, enjoy these lightning bug nights. It’s one more thing that makes summer near the 99th Meridian a little more magical.