Friday, July 24, 2015

Fireflies and Golden Skies

Tiny pinpoints of light punctuate the dusk as fireflies take flight. They remind me a little of the peripheral vision tests I take at the optometrist, but instead of clutching a button tightly in my right hand and holding my breath in typical Type A, don't-fail-this-test form, I breathe in deeply and sit back as comfortably as I can on the hard concrete of our front steps while I watch the free show.

Light ... it's such a powerful thing in the darkness, even when it's a fleeting millisecond as a firefly streaks across the yard, seemingly playing tag with its friends. This summertime light show is accompanied by music from other insects and the rumble of a nearby tractor playing background bass.

Light ... the moments at sunrise and sunset are some of my favorite times of the day.
A June sunrise
Some mornings simply take your breath away with their beauty, a brocade of golden threads woven across the backdrop of blue sky.
A June sunrise
Sunset is like the final gift of the day, a reminder to hold onto that beauty as we lay our heads on the pillow for another night for rest and refreshment.
Harvest 2015 sunset
Even the eastern sky can be kissed by light as the sun departs for the day and the moon makes its appearance.
A few weeks ago, news channels and scientists talked about a rare astrological event: The planets of Jupiter and Venus would be in conjunction, and Regulus, the brightest star of the constellation of Leo, would be in close proximity. June 30, 2015, was "advertised" as a sky that would approximate the Star of Bethlehem.

I imagined a Christmas graphic -- a huge twinkling star, big enough to guide the Wise Men, just like in the Sunday School leaflets of my youth.  I anxiously drove the car beyond the trees to our west and looked up. Only the remnants of the sunset remained faintly glowing at the horizon, and the sky was shifting toward inky blackness.  I had arrived at the appointed time.

It wasn't what I was expecting.  The planets weren't perfectly aligned to make that guiding star. Sure, they were closer than normal. It was pretty. But it wasn't a glowing beacon in the nighttime sky.

And, I was a little disappointed. I halfheartedly took a few photos and then erased them. I don't have the photo equipment for capturing the nighttime sky anyway. But this "big event" seemed like false advertising to me.

Then, little dashes of light flashed just above the CRP grasses. The fireflies zigged and zagged in their own makeshift light show. I could hear combines still chomping through ripe wheat and insects hummed in quiet conversation, a kind of background "white noise" from my open car window.  

While some people talked about the beauty of the rare nighttime sky, one other Facebook friend was brave enough to say it wasn't what she'd imagined either.

But beauty doesn't have to happen in a big flashy show. It may be as tiny as pinpoint firefly flashes in the dark. And maybe we can be those little flashes of light, too, human fireflies using our light to pierce the world's darkness.

Open your soul and entertain the glory of God
 and, after a while, 
that glory will be reflected in the world about you 
and in the very clouds above your head.
- Frank C. Laubach, Christian missionary

Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

A Time to Think

Worship is a way of gladly reflecting back to God the radiance of His worth.
 –John Piper, preacher and author

A Time to Act

Give thought and thanks for the light of day and the comfort of night.
 Devotional (in blue) from Guideposts.


  1. I hadn't thought, until I read your post, about how I haven't seen fireflies in quite a while. I grew up/lived in a couple of places in South Florida (no fireflies), then lived in NC (Yes! Tons of them!!), and now I live in the country in SW Georgia. Sadly, haven't seen even ONE. What do they need to thrive? Anyone know? Can I coax some here?

    1. We have probably had more this summer than we've had some summers. But I honestly don't know what they need to thrive. Currently, it must be HOT because we are certainly providing that! I do love watching them. I've been fascinated by some of the nature shows I've seen on TV - places where the night lights up with them. That would be a fun field trip!

  2. I have always wanted to see Fireflies---we don't have them out here. I do like your topic--LIGHT. very interesting.
    I did take some shots of the two planets as they were close together. I guess I am not a real astronomer as it didn't excite me as much as it was touted. But was interesting.
    Love your shots.