Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grinning Stupidly

To East Coast natives, fireflies are just insects. To this West Coast girl, they're magical.

I've had non-California friends tease me about my undying love for fireflies, just as they teased me during my very first snow flurry two winters ago, when I stormed outside in my raspberry-colored down coat and stared up at the sky in awe. Or like how my colleagues tease me about sprinting to our building's lobby and pulling up a chair by the windows during DC's severe electrical storms and instantaneous torrential downpours.

They speak of catching fireflies in jars as kids, or worse -- of smushing them on the pavement just for the thrill of seeing a smear of fluorescent innards. But I can't imagine doing this to such magnificent creatures.

I spotted the first fireflies of the season a week or so ago. But last night, they were out in full force, likely due to the humidity brought on by a thunderstorm that threatened but never really materialized. While walking home from the Potomac Ave metro station, there were so many fireflies swarming around my feet that my eyes were no longer able to focus on each fleeting glow.

See what I mean? Magic! Things that I've never experienced before; things that are all fluttery and glowing, unexpectedly bright and innocently exciting in the hazy heat of DC summer. Things that have been causing me to grin stupidly an awful lot lately.

Yep. Fireflies.