High Country Association of REALTORS News

Live the Dream #22 - Firefly capital of the world

Fireflies are Mother Nature's evening alarm clock. When they begin to appear it's a sign another day is ending. Almost time to come inside kids, you've got 10 minutes! (Or nine, based on the average snooze button).

Boone firefliesThe High Country is home to legions of the lightning bugs. You see them most every summer evening. They appear gradually, in ones or twos, before becoming an orchestra of Christmas tree lights, blinking and dipping through the landscape. Kids have become quite expert at capturing some. I've had more than one jar of natural light in the house, or glow-in-the-dark sketches made on the side of the house (Sadly, a few bugs were killed in the making of this artwork).

An Ashe County native who long moved down the mountain recently paid a visit home. The sight of the fireflies brought back memories, and made a new one.

Experts tell us that fireflies are becoming dramatically less common. I’d seen only a handful all summer -until our first evening at the campsite. As the darkness closed in, all around us fireflies began blinking, hundreds of them in trees and open spaces. A little later, I went to an open field out of curiosity, and there were thousands on display. Framed by a crystal clear sky and the twinkle of thousands of stars, the fireflies put on an equal display, only brighter. After a few minutes, I could see patterns to their blinking; a hundred bugs firing up simultaneously. Only one other time have I seen anything to compare. It was magical.

Magical, and sometimes mystical. It's not unusual for a light mist to gather in the early evenings after a late summer rain. As the skies darken, a competition begins to see who can generate more light, the twinkling stars up high or the bobbing fire flies down low. It's a living work of art, and a regular masterpiece in the Firefly Capital of the World.