Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Gift of the Fireflies

Last night, a friend of mine gave me the gift of the fireflies. "They live in the fields," he said. "At this time of year, they are just covered with them." Well, absent a conveniently located field, I thought I would try a nearby vacant lot filled with tall grass instead. To my intense delight, I encountered hundreds of blinking fireflies, winking off and on, on and off! It was like watching a well-crafted poem in action. The rhythm of their blinks created a percussive background onto which was overlayed a number of other motifs, created by the height and depth of their constantly moving locations in the compositional space (in this case, the grassy
field). It was lovely--particularly when combined with the symphonic accompaniment provided by the sounds of the crickets, the frogs, and the breeze.

I tried to photograph them and learned a lot about the flash settings for nighttime photos on my camera, but I didn't have much luck with the fireflies themselves. I thought that I might be able to capture them using the movie feature on my camera instead . . . but when that also yielded less than satisfactory results, I finally just put the camera away. I stood and watched until I could no longer stand the mosquitoes--laughing at the fact that I had been so much more interested in capturing the experience so that I could share it with others than in actually experiencing it!

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