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Wednesday, July 16th, 2003

Time Event
8:54a
Fireflies
Last night we went out for a walk at dusk. We frequently do this, but then we specifically wanted to check on firefly activity. Fireflies are special to us, for Georgie just because they are beautiful, and for me because I never had them as a kid. (Wisconsin Dells seems to be just a bit north of their range, so I never had the experience of catching some in a jar--.)Our neighborhood along the Kinnickkinnick river is particularly good for them (fireflies apparently have an aquatic larval stage), and last night was fantastic! We knew it was going to be good as soon as we walked out of our house and saw a half-dozen in our front lawn alone. We walked down to the parkway to a small open stretch we call the "firefly meadow" because it is near the stream and often the scene of the most intense activity, as it was tonight. There were fireflies in multiples evrywhere you looked. It seemed like bubbles of light were fizzing up from some dark green grassy solution. We walked on and caught the wink of more solitary fireflies in the darkness of the woods. Then, we came to a larger meadow, a city block open expanse, and could see the fireflies winking here and there, starlike, over the entire expanse. We walked to the footbridge and gazed down on the dark water, glimsing the occasional roving spark. Then, we strolled home. As darkness gathers, the firefly activity slowly dies down, but we still saw hundreds, and there were enough that it seemed that luminous ministers went before and behind us, like putti with the goddess Venus. As Georgie said, this was the true, wild magic. You can neither summon it, nor control it, it just is, for its own sake.

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