The other evening walking through my New York City park at dusk, I saw a single firefly flashing here and there in a patch of flowers. I stood looking into the darkening field waiting for my vision to change, thinking for sure I’d see more as I acclimated, the way one does when hunting wild mushroom in the woods — suddenly, they are visible. But there was only a single firefly hoping to attract a mate…
I remembered a haiku by Issa, written 200 or so years ago:
Don’t go firefly!
Even at night
Kyoto New York
And this by Issa, too:
The first firefly!
It was off, away, —
The wind left in my hand.
The New York Times recently reported that researchers have discovered that dense swarms of fireflies blink in unison, with rhythmic, coordinated waves of light in an almost perfect synchronization. They captured it in this tiny beauty of a video:
“Their findings confirm what I have seen with my own eyes in the wild for the past 30 years of field work,” said Lynn Frierson Faust, the author of “Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs,” who is known as the Lightning Bug Lady of Tennessee. Every kid knows it too.
I took the lone firefly as a hopeful sign, that fireflies would likely be inhabiting this deep-city park soon, casting their silent magic, oblivious to all that has happened…
Here and there,
The night-grass is green
From the fire-flies.
Haiku from Haiku by R.H. Blyth (Vol 3): Summer / Autumn