Several years ago I wrote a post titled “Magic comes to a backyard near you.” It was very popular and got a lot of hits, likely because people wondered what it was about. Who doesn’t like magic? People obviously clicked on it, curious to discover more. They soon learned it was about fireflies… Well guess what? It’s that time of year again! which of course means the magic is back! Woo hoo! Is there anything greater than sitting in the backyard watching the pinpricks of light dancing in the darkness?
As you’ve probably heard me say a time or two before, I live in the middle of the woods at the bottom of a mountain. Two nights ago my husband and I sat outside, watching as the last light of day faded to black. We watched the bats (all 2 of them!) above us in delight, knowing they were feasting on mosquitoes and listened to the call of the screech owl. And then, when nearly all the light was gone, we started seeing the Blue Ghosts…. My gosh, they were everywhere, writing secret messages on the black slate of night. Wow, this is awesome! Have you ever seen them?
Blue Ghosts are a kind of firefly–Phausis reticulata–that lives in the eastern and central United States. Unlike other fireflies that have blinking light patterns, the blue ghosts’ lights stay on–for 30 + seconds –as they move several feet above the ground. Watching them is a magical experience as it just looks like tiny lights moving through the black.
Watching the blue ghosts makes me think of a famous Rachel Carson quote–my personal favorite of all time about having a sense of wonder. It is fitting that she was born this time of year–on May 27th in 1907. I know she would love the blue ghosts as much as me and would revel in the magic they bring to the night. And though she died in 1965, before I came along, she is someone I admire and believe we all can learn from. She fought tirelessly to raise awareness about the connection between people and the environment, and her book, Silent Spring, was a powerful wake up call about the effects of DDT that thankfully, inspired change. In honor of her birthday I thought this week’s quote could be a few more of her words of wisdom.
“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.
If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused — a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love — then we wish for knowledge about the subject of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.” –Rachel Carson
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
― Rachel Carson
And one more:
“This notion that “science” is something that belongs in a separate compartment of its own, apart from everyday life, is one that I should like to challenge. We live in a scientific age; yet we assume that knowledge of science is the prerogative of only a small number of human beings, isolated and priest-like in their laboratories. This is not true. It cannot be true. The materials of science are the materials of life itself. Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why of everything in our experience. It is impossible to understand man without understanding his environment and the forces that have molded him physically and mentally. “
— Rachel Carson
What is your favorite Rachel Carson quote? Have YOU ever seen the blue ghosts? Was this a magical experience for you? As always, I’d love to hear from you! Use the comment box below to share your thoughts.