Friday, July 11, 2008


Questiion—what makes fireflies sparkle like, well. like fireflies? I just returned from my usual evening walk, during which I was entertained by the flitting about of many of those little beacons. Curious old soul that I am, I naturally wondered why they do that.

It seems to me that most bugs have a short lifespan. They barely last a season, many don’t last a week. They are convenient prey for the hungry birds and bats and other critters that find them unusually palatable. Their existence must be tenuous in the best of times. I should think that most bugs are wary and furtive in their movements so as not to attract too much attention from that list of predators.

And then you have the fireflies. Are they particularly stupid or unusually brave? They flit around brazenly advertising their presence for all the world to see. Do they really expect to get away from those who would make a meal of them? Are they thumbing their noses at their voracious enemies and daring those enemies to “bring it on.”
Are they born or hatched or metamorphed or whatever with an unusually strong death wish? Are they nature’s kamikazes? Or are they just going about their lives as nature intended, oblivious to the danger that surrounds them, content to be as fireflie-y as they can be?

Maybe there’s a lesson there for us.

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