Barbra Brady

Fireflies Spotted in San Francisco!

In Art, The Bay Lights on March 27, 2013 at 5:05 am

The Bay Lights, full moon

Soundtrack: Julianna Barwick’s Vow. Fireflies, or lightning bugs, are beetles. My tidbit of a research tells me they aren’t west of the Rockies. They don’t live anywhere near San Francisco (though Utah lays a claim).

So while I’m crazy about living in Sonoma, in the north Bay, I miss these bugs. The perennial, crepuscular Celeoptera. Stilted, I know, but they provoke the laudatory.

I used to live east of the Rockies, most recently in Greensboro, NC, where I had nightly meditations on their light effects. Each year, early June, I’d sit in the courtyard of my apartment building, and wait for the first sighting of the year, kinda like waiting for the first snowfall. Just as magical each year, no matter how many times I’d seen them. The anticipation of the known only added allure. It was sometime during my first summer of evening viewings that I noticed an operational detail: they don’t just start lighting up the sky once dusk settles in, they slowly, dopily, rise up from the ground. Make that: they waft up. They are wafters.

Here’s where the “Fireflies spotted in San Francisco!” comes in. I’ve been watching the live cam of The Bay Lights “no two patterns ever repeat” light display for a couple of weeks now. I get kind of mesmerized by the way the lights play of lights across the span of the bridge, and I’d already noted their ascent and descent. Here’s the thing: tonight I noticed that at times the LED lights…waft up. Like…fireflies.

The full moon didn’t exactly put any dents in the experience.

The Bay Lights Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 8.50.01 PMThe Bay Lights Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 8.49.54 PMThe Bay Lights Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 8.46.45 PMThe Bay Lights Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 8.48.47 PMThe Bay Lights Screen shot 2013-03-26 at 8.57.10 PM

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  1. Yes…here in the Carolinas…the first sighting of fireflies on a dusky evening are, at least for me, the sure mark that Summer has arrived. I love those tiny, magical beings…

    • Yes, Jim! In Greensboro they would arrive round about June 10…kind of an exact date to remember something so ephemeral…and, ahem, flighty, but I’d really count the evenings til they appeared each summer. Over the six summers I spent there, that was a median date. It sparked.

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