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Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

In New York, we called them lightning bugs but I think they are more commonly known as fireflies.  As kids we would sit out on the porch on hot summer nights waiting for them to come out.  Since they light up intermittently it was fun to run towards the soft green glowing light and try to spot the insect.  Often by the time you got to where you thought it was, it had flown a little further away, so you would have to wait again for it to light up in order to locate it.

I liked to gently capture them in my hand and then make a loose fist.  By parting my fingers I would create a peep hole and place my eye up to my hand.  When the lightning bug glowed it would light up the inside of my fist.  Magic!

Of course, we also put them in jars sometimes.  The idea of having this mysterious crawling pulsing light in a jar on your nightstand was awfully cool.  It wasn’t so great for the fireflies though.  By morning they would usually be dead. The magic extinguished.  I remember feeling pretty bad about killing them but I’m also fairly certain I placed them in jars more than once.  I suppose remorse doesn’t stick too well when you are only seven years old.

So, I was missing lightning bugs this week and wondering if they had died off or something.  I asked Jim who is native here and he said they never had fireflies in this part of Florida but he’s seen them in the Carolinas.  I guess it’s too hot here?  It definitely gets just as hot in New York and the Carolinas though so I don’t know.  All I know is I haven’t seen one in forever.  If you live where they are, say hi for me.

Oh my god, and don’t squish them!  Yes, I know they leave a luminescent streak of guts and that’s super cool, but it’s so damn mean.  Wait a minute.  That is probably a far better way to die then suffocation in a jar.  Wow.  All those boys I thought were super mean were actually more merciful than I.  At least squishing is fast.  Just don’t do either, okay?!

It’s an interesting metaphor though, don’t you think?  I mean we see something that we find beautiful and magical and we have to have it as our own, so we stifle it or squash it until the very thing we found so charming is destroyed. Boy, does that sound familiar! I’ve been thinking about this lately.  I guess that’s where the lightning bug memories came from.

Lightning bug or Firefly

I made some loose associations to this concept as I was writing the comic.  There’s a reason I chose Vendetta for it.  It has to do with not suffocating – allowing people to shine or stumble.  Remembering, you do not own anyone.

It’s about letting people change, make mistakes, etc. without smothering them or trying to manipulate them into changing.  Sometimes it’s about changing them back to what or who you thought they were.  Sometimes, it’s about not perceiving them accurately to begin with and as the illusion fades you’re desperate not to see the truth so you put the stranglehold on and will them to be what you want.  Perhaps it’s just time for them to change in some way.  Not all growth is surrounded by happiness.  Sometimes, growth will come from dark times.  At other times, a person’s change comes from a super growth spurt and one can fear being left behind as they soar off,  so once again the temptation to hold on too tightly can emerge.  Sometimes people are going to fly up so high or fall down so hard that they are simply gone from your world.  I’m reminding myself of this truth right now because I do not want to ever place someone I love in a jar.
Let live was the the root of this week’s comic.  I’m not sure if Vendetta got that or not but I definitely did.

Til next week….

<3 calan GingerDead Goth Art on Etsy

22 Responses to “firefly”

  1. Michelle Says:

    i saw a firefly
    in my concrete backyard this
    summer. I caught it, and
    then I let it go.
    one small firefly, off to
    light up the city.

  2. Gabe Says:

    glowing graffiti
    gone in a blaze of glory
    I bet it hurt though

    We have super tons of these flying about. I’ll mail you some 🙂

  3. calan Says:

    welcome Michelle and thanks for the beautiful poem 🙂

    great haiku gabe. i’m not so sure they will still be glowing when they get here though. 😛 maybe you can take a pic with your supah fancy camera!

  4. Seraphine Says:

    i love this weeks comic and commentary!
    and don’t forget forgiveness. i think all
    children do mean things with bugs. i remember
    one summer when i froze bees and ants to
    see if i could revive them (i could. i only left
    them in the freezer until they stopped moving).
    it was intellectual curiosity rather than cruelty
    that motivated me. and yes, i knew it was cruel.
    but i was only 9 or 10 years old and i knew
    nothing of pain and death. i don’t punish myself
    for childhood mistakes. but i still flush spiders
    down the toilet if i catch them in my bedroom.

  5. Seraphine Says:

    saw my first firefly
    small smear, streaked against darkness
    small light and then gone

  6. Amanda Says:

    Yea as a semi native * i was born in kansas but lived here in tampa since the age of 4 thats as native as i think i can get* I’ve only seen fireflies once when i was a kid we went to visit family in kentucky and they live up there it gets too hot down here and not cold enough in the winter for them to breed and my mom told me that we shouldn’t squish the little critters cause the chemicals that make them light up can actually cause forms of cancer so its just nature fighting back i think.

    Glow little glow worm
    Shine and shimmer don’t burn out
    light fades through a jar

  7. justme Says:

    magic in a jar
    ephemeral, eternal
    bottled lightning (…bugs)

    We had ’em in central Illinois when I was little and called ’em lightnin’ bugs, too. I remember trying to catch enough at once to read by–don’t think I ever did but I got at least a couple dozen once. I poked holes in the lid so they could breathe but my mom told me they wouldn’t survive the night anyway so I always let ’em go before I went to bed. I did give in to peer pressure once though and smeared one on my shorts. Kinda cool but kinda yuck, and I felt really bad for the poor li’l bug so I didn’t do it anymore even when my friends did.

    We moved to southeastern Michigan when I was ten and they’re different there. Instead of a couple seconds of yellow-green glow followed by a long period of darkness, they go blink-blink-blink in bluish-green before going dark again for a while. I think we called ’em fireflies there.

    We don’t have ’em here in western Washington state and I really miss ’em. Don’t miss the skeeters though.

    Ven looks like she’s trying to be more mad at the bug for dying than upset that she killed it. But maybe not succeeding.

  8. coolioness Says:

    Death to the light, the
    poor luminous creature will
    sadly fly no more.

    I remember the last time I caught fireflies. I miss doing that, but it’s more likely to get shot in my nieghborhood. xD

  9. calan Says:

    sera, yeah forget childhood mistakes, i don’t punish myself for mistakes i’ve made recently. if i did i think i’d be in metaphoric prison doing life. lulz.

    amanda, maybe people just said that so you kids wouldn’t squish them. if i ever have offspring i think i’d tell them that the glowing goo is acid that will eat their flesh if they squish it!

    justme – i almost used ephemeral in my haiku! it’s one of my favorite words.

    coolio- maybe if you had a badass firefly posse they could protect you

    everyone – seriously.awesome.haiku’n (virtual hugs each of you til your eyeballs pop out)

  10. matthew Says:

    I am late again. Oh well. I loved this weeks installment. I believe in letting people do for themselves as well. You have to learn those life lessons or you will just be a hopeless mess when your on your own. Its nice to have a safety net of people who love you but you may not always have that so the sooner you learn to be your own person the better. As to changing people…you need to be very careful in that area. Some changes you ask of others may not be possible or even healthy for them and it will lead to an ending of your relationship with them, whatever it may have been. So ask for change if you feel its necessary but be prepared for it to not happen.

    The firefly thing reminds me of Disney Land. Its the only place i ever saw what they may look like in the wild. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has them in all their fake glory at the beginning of the ride. I always loved that first part of the ride. It was so peaceful.

    Untold numbers glow.
    What a peaceful dreamlike scene.
    Behold natures gift.

    And then i thought what is going through Ven’s mind as she does this?
    Maybe something like this?

    Must i kill you all?
    If you just speak this can end.
    Where is the lightning?

    Have a great one!

  11. calan Says:

    Matt – I love that part of the Pirates of the Carib ride too!

    That last haiku…wow. It blows mine away. It’s absolutely perfect and made me lol for realz. Thanks!

    Hope you are feeling way better this week. 🙂

  12. matthew Says:

    Yep i am feeling much improved. Thanks for asking. Very glad i could put a smile on your face. I need to replace the shirt i got before as i didn’t get the right size. Stupid but it benefited my sister :). I will be getting it soon. Probably this weekend. I want it for the Halloween season. Glorious time of year. So happy. Take care.

  13. DMC_Run Says:

    Calling as you asked.
    (I’m just north of N.Y.C.)
    As a child, I recall reading a VERY old book of fairy-tales in my grandmother’s home in N.C. One from Japan, was about the Lord of the Sky, who misplaced his prized ring, & asked all the animals to help search for it. As he looked don from above, he saw a small bug who wasn’t searching. He made a point of going to this bug & asking why. The bug’s reply was simple:
    “There’s no need to search. All I do is look at you & there it is, gleaming down at me.”
    Sure enough, the ring was hanging from one of the points of the Lord’s crown! When asked what he’d like for a reward, the bug answered:
    “My family is poor, & we must work from early morn until late dusk. May we each have a lantern, so that we can find our way home at night?”
    This is how the Firefly is said to have gotten his light.

  14. calan Says:

    dmc – thank you so much for taking the time to post that fairy tale about the origin of the firefly’s light. i love it and it’s one i’ve never come across before. i adore fairy tales actually and now that i think of it, it’s been so many years since i’ve read any. i think i’m going to the library tomorrow!

    well make that today…if it’s still open when i wake up. just got back from hanging at the airport with my boyfriend whose off to play a music festival outside of portland. it’s 5 am here. time for some zzzzzs. what perfect timing for a fairy tale! thanks again!

  15. Amanda Says:

    so seriously i got bored before going to bed tonight and decided to read up on Fireflies and the protein they use to produce light they have bio engineered certain living things to produce it. ” Mice, silkworms, and potatoes are just a few organisms that have already been engineered to produce the protein.” *stolen from Wikipedia* But how great is that glowing mice and potatoes. Thought I would share.

  16. matthew Says:

    Yaaaaaaa…i think i will be avoiding glowing potatoes. Glowing mice might be nice though. Make it easy to catch em.

    That fairy tale is really good. Thanks dmc.

  17. DMC_Run Says:

    Don’t forget the glowing cats too!

    You’re Welcome, Good Sir.

  18. calan Says:

    amanda thanks so much for that post. i love the idea of glowing mice and taters! and DMC, you made me lgiggle as i imagined a mouse shaped glow emanating from my kitties belly. 😛

    you guys rock.

  19. Chance Says:

    Just imagine what a big glowing smear a glowing kitty would make. I guess the only way that will happen is if we light them on fire 🙁

  20. DMC_Run Says:

    Actually, I was referring to a news article that spoke of altering feline DNA so that the cat’s face & ears glowed a soft orange-red in the dark…
    (video footage was included)
    …but the “mouse-shaped glowing belly” is quite a visual – thanks for that!

  21. calan Says:

    that’s just insane! why on earth would they want to do that? i imagine it would mess up a cat’s ability to hunt should it or it’s offspring end up strays. can’t be too much of a nocturnal predator with a glowing head, lol. it’s funny and interesting and i’m sure would look kinda cool, but wtf? leave the kitties alone you crazy scientists!

  22. DMC_Run Says:

    Who can explain “Mad Science”???!?
    Actually, I think it’s a simple matter of:
    “We’re trying to get this Gene-Splicing technology to work, & we know where in the DNA to find the code for [Glowing-In-The-Dark], so if we succeed, it’ll be really easy to tell, without resorting to DNA-testing!”

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