Summer is finally and officially here!

Sand between my toes, melting popsicles, chlorine-y or salty hair, ripe tomatoes, fresh corn, eating outdoors, thunderstorms and fireflies—a few of my East Coast childhood summer memories. The idea of fireflies, or lightning bugs, as they are sometimes called, is just so charming, and in some ways a symbol of a simpler time. No iPhones or email, no TiVo or Internet, just a bug catcher and a jar….

Fireflies are everywhere this June. My kids listen to about 10 songs, as much as I try to curate their musical tastes, they’ll have to discover their own style. One of their favorites right now is Fireflies by Owl City. It’s a sweet song and the lyrics are very uncontroversial. My husband is also hooked on an old TV series called Firefly dubbed an America Space Western, by those in the know. Add to that, a great little restaurant, Firefly, in San Francisco, that we love…and then I came across this New York Times article about fireflies drawing hordes of tourists in Tennessee. This was the antidote to fast-paced modern life I needed to read about.

Apparently, there is a light show every night at this time of year in Elkmont, Tennessee near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Folks gather at a trail head with camping chairs and wait for the Mother Nature’s ritual performance. Called “mind-blowing,” “a silent symphony” and likened to the aurora borealis or a solar eclipse, this is no small show.

You don’t have to be a science geek to enjoy the spectacle. Elkmont’s firefly population is the largest in the Western hemisphere. So thick are the masses of bugs that you have to carve your way around them. There is concern that all the attention will cause ill-effects for the bugs. But for now, the two-week annual engagement is sold out…or at least feeding visitors’ need to enjoy natural phenomenon.

Filed Under Budget Travel, Eco Friendly Travel, Family Travel, Hike/Backpack, wildlife


3 Responses to “Catching Fireflies”

  1. leah on June 30th, 2011 12:41 pm

    Your post just envoked a childhood memory of seeing fireflies for the first time.
    I was 11 years old and at a summer camp in New Jersey (I’m From the UK)and I thought they were fairies :-)
    I hope the extra tourist attention won’t harm them but They are amazing to see, simply magical, I reccomend anyone put down the remote control and step outside :-)

  2. Darya Mead on June 30th, 2011 6:00 pm

    Yes I remember thinking they were fairies too! A magical memory for sure!

  3. Darya Mead on July 29th, 2016 8:51 pm

    Fascinating!! How fireflies are beautiful — and useful

Leave a Reply