“His sanguine spirit turns every firefly into a star.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Just reported today in the New York Times. Fireflies are disappearing from their love groves and nobody knows where they’re going…or why. Maybe they’re going to meet some honeybees. I remember the last time I saw fireflies, and I mean a lot of fireflies. It was spectacular. I was compelled to stop and just watch them, probably with a boy’s sense of amazement, thousands of soft little lights pulsing rhythmically in an orgy of wonder. What were they doing out there in the field?
Well, they were trying to hook up. Male fireflies flash to attract females, and when a female winks back, the two can meet, have a couple of drinks, and then it’s “your place or mine.” But the fireflies are disappearing as they follow the honeybee, the blue butterfly, the salmon, and the orangutans into the great Nothing. And it’s all about sex and turning off the lights.
The people are responsible. With worldwide destruction, degradation and fragmentation of their habitats, and human encroachment—and where we go, we bring lights—the poor little buggars don’t see each other wink. Along the Mae Klong River here, an hour south of Bangkok, the people tell of a time—a few years ago—when the fireflies were so abundant the villagers used them to navigate the canals, the night-time fisherman worked by their glow, and the people put them in glass jars to use as little lights. I would like to see fireflies that thick. Before it’s too late.
So you want my advice for having sex with the lights on or off? Simple. Lights off. But carry a flashlight.