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©June 1999

Carol Jane Remsburg





Lightning Bugs and Lilies



While it's not a mid-summer madness, it is the vast vista of endless possibilities for fun and frolic.  School is ending.  With the last banging of the doors as they shut for their summertime siesta, other things spring to life.  Two of the shortest-lived species come to reassure us that this special time is a reality at last.


Come mid-June, or thereabouts, we encounter the wonder of the Tiger Lilies in this area.  They are brilliant and exotic.  Their greens are vibrant, but the blooms range in color from a dark yellow to a deep pumpkin color.  One day you'll see three or four, the next it will be about twenty.  Before the week is out, there will be dozens of flowers depending on how large your green patch will grow.  This jubilation only lasts several weeks depending upon the weather.  Also, much depends upon the water police.  During our time of drought, I could do nothing to aid the only green things that I dare nurture.  I hold the crown as the reigning champion of the “black thumb.”  Still, after 14 years, my Tiger Lilies flourish.  I leave them alone and they return the favor by their lushness year after year.


Now the Lightning Bugs are different.  They, too, only visit us on a brief duration.  It's a late spring and early summer event.  When the heat gets too intense and there are too few magnificent oaks or maples to seek the coolness of their shelter even as dusk descends, those enchanting little bugs buzz elsewhere.


So now it is that all of us are gifted with the memories of today and those of years past.  This is still now, but the nostalgia of the old embroiders even these supersonic, hi-tech days.  The drone of the central air may hum and keep us in a vacuum of comfort, yet all we need to do is venture outdoors for just a few moments in the gloaming.  We regress and become what we've always been.  The heavy, damp air, the heat, and the joy are all the same.  If we abolished a portion of our minds from today's duties and tomorrow's worries, we'd be right back to where we were as children. 


We'd frolic in the waning light, oblivious to the dampness of the dew as we chased lightning bugs with a jar.  As darkness fell, you could almost see the tiger lilies fold up for the night to save themselves for just another day more before they were gone until next year.  Then bedtime would arrive.  Our stickiness washed away with the bath water as we climbed into bed with the anticipation that tomorrow would be even better.  The jar filled with lightning bugs at our bedside to watch and wonder over as we fell asleep knowing that come morning we'd better free them lest they die.


These moments of excitement and freedom don't show themselves with such blatant signs often.  However, this is the mark of all the good things to come in summer.  Oh there may be heat waves, spats with friends and lovers, but these quiet symbols remind us that life is all about renewal and new opportunities.  It tells us that our life is never to be stagnant as we think it must be. 


Tiger Lilies and Lightning Bugs also remind us of our place in nature.  We aren't so awesomely overpowering.  We share our space with the short and the tall, the big and the small.  None of us are to be excluded.  Each of us has a special place in the workings of our world.  It's just that we humans have a funny way of figuring out our purpose here.  Stress in nature is fight or flight.  Stress in the human world is self-made and self-accepted.


Go do the boogie of the lightning bugs and dance the light fantastic of the lilies.  Hey, it's in your own backyard.  Go see if anyone else is as silly as we?  Life is good this way.


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