Lightning Bugs and Summertime Memories
Whenever a summer evening is hot and muggy and the back yard is lit up with lightning bugs, I remember the night my kids and I collected as many of the glowing bugs as we could to make an "all-natural" lantern.
It started innocently enough. One summer evening, with not much to do, we were looking out a window in to the backyard, and it started coming alive with lightning bugs. Slowly at first, but then transforming into a theatrical light show of little greenish-yellow glowing dots.
My kids, being little at the time, were fascinated and thought it was pretty great. So we went outside to get a closer look. Since they were enjoying the show so much, I said, "Let’s try to catch as many as we can, put them in a jar and have a 'lightning bug' lantern?"
Both thought that was a great idea, so I went into the house and got an old Mason jar with a lid. For the next half hour or so, the three of us ran around the back yard catching lightning bugs and carefully putting them in the jar. We were smiling, laughing and having a great time! I think if any of the neighbors would have looked at us they’d have thought we were crazy, but we were having a blast.
With each bug flickering on and off, we had soon caught enough to keep the jar steadily glowing and pulsing with light. We had no idea what to do with them once we caught them, but we thought it was fun just to watch the glowing jar. So there we were, sitting at our picnic table with a jar glowing with the luminescence of captured lightning bugs. After a while, I think the bugs got tired of being our entertainment, so they stopped flickering as often. Since bed time was approaching and the light was going out, we took off the lid and let the bugs fly away.
Now, several years later, my kids and I still look back at that evening with fond memories. It’s not uncommon to start a summer conversation with, "Remember that night we made a lightning bug lantern?"
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