We arrived home last night, just at dusk, tired, emotional, anxious after a journey that took hours longer than it should have – the usual snaking snarl of D.C. Beltway traffic – stopped at a light along Tyler Avenue, when J. noticed a firefly land on the windshield. We’ve been eagerly anticipating their seasonal arrival, impatiently, The Girls peering into each evening, hoping and waiting. And so far, we have been left still waiting. Like the hummingbirds, they have been much, much later than in previous years, so much so that I’ve gotten worried. Last night it was too late for Z & V, so I promised them we’d sit outside tonight. What I didn’t tell them was that I looked, while bringing in carloads of stuff, stood outside the house peering into the evening. And I saw a single blink. I did some research today, which revealed that all 2000 species worldwide are declining; some biologists have even whispered the word: endangered.
For good measure, and because I know a kindergartener who will love it, I have signed us up to monitor fireflies in our neighborhood, with the Boston Museum of Science’s annual Firefly Watch. Maybe the winter was not quite right and they really are just delayed this year. At least, I hope so. I cannot imagine a world, a childhood, without the magic of fireflies.