Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-06-26 – Sparkly lightning bugs

Going to be a great morning!  Pink in the clouds, Ivan joining me for the walk, and later on we’re meeting a mutual friend to walk around town and take pictures of whatever we find picture-worthy.

Sunrise Stats!
First light: 4:50 AM
Sunrise: 5:27 AM
Daylight: 16 hrs, 46 min

Saw some lightning bugs on the lower path today.  Love the little glowing buggers.  I should make some time to be out on the Bluff some evening.

When we first moved in to the place we’re living now, the field across from our house was part of something called the Conservation Reserve Program.  It was designed to help farmers protect and restore environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands, prairie areas, animal habitats, without losing revenue through not planting those areas.  That field was prairie restoration.  Long waving grasses that shone and rippled in the moonlight, early spring flowers.  It was good grazing for the deer.  And in the summer the fireflies came out.

I was working second shift up in the cities back then, a four tens schedule from 3:30 PM to 2:00 AM.  I’d get home an hour or so later, and sometimes coming up the driveway on clear nights I’d pause partway up the road.  Turn off the lights, roll down the window, lean on the doorsill and just… watch.

All those sparkly, twinkling lights among the waving grasses were just mesmerizing.  Miniature galaxies under the starry country sky, blinking and flashing.  Each species with its own pattern, they seek out mates, warn off predators, and create great beauty in the night.

I hadn’t yet taken photography up seriously when our neighbor removed the field from the CRP rolls.  He rented the land out to a local farmer, and the past few years it’s been either soybeans or corn.  And while there have been a few fireflies lighting up the night, it’s nothing like it was.  And I’ve been wishing that I would have learned night photography in order to preserve that incredible sight.

And I’ve been hungering to capture it, see it again.  Galaxies above, galaxies below, the warm country night alive with sparkly lights.

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