July 4th. Around here it means hot weather, cookouts, parades, and fireworks. Fireworks are gorgeous spectacles, but I’m a bit of a curmudgeon about them. The noise scares animals (and people) and they’re a fire hazard. They’re dangerous and I wish that individuals weren’t able to buy their own sparkling explosives. Nonetheless, if I see a fireworks show, I ooh and ahh with everyone else!
I prefer the sort of light show that goes on nightly in our front meadow.
Sadly, these insects are on the decline. Pesticides, artificially illuminated skies, raked lawns, and loss of wetlands have all contributed to their demise.
Luckily for me, what’s good for turtles is also good for fireflies. My home in Maine looks out to marsh (where plenty of snails, slugs, and other creatures live that these beetles like to eat.) The open meadow that slopes down to the water is mowed only once a year, so the grass is tall and damp – another thing that these bugs need. There’s also plenty of leaf litter, bark, and other cozy spaces for the larvae to overwinter. A firefly haven.
At night, Steve and I turn out the lights in the house and let our eyes adjust. Then we watch the show.
Have a wonderful and safe July 4th!