When I was little, I remember whiling away summer evenings by catching fireflies.
Dorothy and I would carefully place the fireflies in a clean pickle jar. We would add a bit of grass and then rummage up a piece of screening to attach to the jar with a rubber band. That way, they could breathe and enjoy the grass which we figured they ate.
Little did I know that what I was really doing was interfering with the fireflies’ social life. You see, fireflies light up to attract potential mates. By taking some of them out of circulation, we were narrowing the field of admirers.
Can you imagine the toll? “I was signaling to this babe and then all of a sudden, poof! She disappears. I thought we had a good thing going on.”
Of course, our pursuits were innocent. We would let them out either at the end of the night or the next day. But some of the boys in the neighborhood weren’t so benevolent. Amid our cries of, “Hey! Leave them alone,” they took great delight in squashing the fireflies with the edge of their sneaker and smearing the phosphorescence on the sidewalk, leaving a glowing mark. Then, the boys would just smirk in return. Ewwww.
I am relieved that not all boys did this, because we can still enjoy fireflies today; watching with wonder as they rise from the lawn like Japanese lanterns.
I’m Rosie Klepper and that’s my perspective.