Caussey's Corner

Caussey’s Corner: Fireflies in a Jar, the Glow of a Texas Summer Night

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Tony Maples Photography


This May in Texas, the weather was not late spring typical. It rained often, and the temperature moderated into the realm of comfortable.

One late spring evening in early June, just as darkness attempted to snuff ­the few remaining rays of sun caught peeking through rain-filled clouds, I looked out into my backyard.

The night air was aglow with multitudes of fireflies. Remembering my early days as a firefly catcher, I made a mental note of where I could find a container. Discovering a jar in the kitchen cabinet, I placed holes in the top with a now dull steak knife, and dashed outside into nature’s fireworks.

I picked fireflies out of the air like a day laborer would apples from a Washington orchard. In no time my jar was filled with swarming, electrical beings that lit up my jar like a late ­night dance hall.

Between my hands, the jar was showered with a lightning pulse that reflected a glow from the jar to my happy face. Even the clouds, that once championed rain, exposed a black sky blanket, filled with a sparkling host of beautiful stars.

Caussey's Corner: Fireflies in a Jar, the Glow of a Texas Summer Night

Photo: @omom via Twenty20

From the front porch, voices were carried on gentle winds. They were the voices of two neighbor boys who attended classes at a local elementary school.

Going around my house, through the gate, I arrived in the neighbor’s yard instantly. Almost breathless, I present­ed myself, jar in hand, pro­claiming the beauty of my captures. Excitedly I encour­aged them to gather their vessels and accompany me back to my harbinger of twinkling insects. They refused politely, and went back to repairing their bikes.

Not understanding their complete disinterest in my discovery, I carted my treasure in the jar into the house. The lights in the jar had changed from a golden glow to a blue amber coloring.

In the house, looking into the jar, decades in time seemed to melt away, transporting me  to a country back porch where another little boy gazed into his own jar filled with fireflies. How long I looked into that evangelical glow, I don’t know, but I remained lost for a period of reflective time.

Regaining my present thoughts, I sat the jar on my bedroom windowsill. Observing that the jar no longer glowed, but emitted a kind of dull green light, I opened the window. I took the jar, unscrewed the lid and allowed my precious cargo to escape their captor. Upon departure, the fireflies assumed their radiant glow. They appeared to circle the moon, then descend slowly, and dance among the branches of trees.

A renewed wind brought the voices of the boys from the front yard. Their laughter joined my peaceful, happy heart, as my eyes watched my fireflies start their journey that would take them to a place in the heavens where they would become the night’s stars.

Durhl Caussey writes a column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or [email protected].