Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Donna Speaks: A Winter Magical Mystery Tour

I've always thought that winter is a magical time of the year.  Yeah, most trees are naked, but that means I see the night sky's sparkles with fewer obstructions.  And, on a crisp, cold nights, sounds seem to go further and sound clearer.  Plus life couldn't get much better than sitting 'round a blazing bonfire on a near freezing night with a bunch of friends.

One of my favorite things to do is to go for a walk on a cold, moonlit, night.That's what we were doing several years ago on the turn rows of fallow fields on the outskirts of Natchitoches, LA.  "We" included my older sister and her two daughters, me and two of my three sons, and a couple of friends.  

The coyotes were especially talkative that night with their yelps and yips, howls and barks, signaling each other about the best hunting areas.  We were hoping to get close enough to see the rag-tag creatures.  We were not at all afraid of the coyotes: there people and wild animals both had plenty of room to live and eat without competing with each other.

We tromped down the muddy roads, looking, listening, giggling, and "booing" each other  Suddenly, I thought I saw a small flash of light on the sole of one of my youngest son's shoes.  Jeff was walking in front of me; I turned my full attention to the bottom of his tennis shoes. And there it was again: flashes of whitish, greenish, bluish, reddish lights.

"Hey, guys.  Stop a minute,"  I had to say several times to get everybody's attention.  "Look at the bottom of your shoes... Really, stop and look."  When they looked, almost everyone had shoe soles that lit up - especially when you'd step in a particularly muddy spot.

After lotsa "ooohs, aaahs" and "wows", we started speculating on the cause of our glowing soles.   "Little space creatures falling from the sky."  "Alien rain".  "Space snot".  And so on. Even left over poison from the crop dusters.  The adults wove fantastic stories to scare the kids. The coyotes were forgotten.       

A few days later, after I got home, I investigated our strange encounter. Come to find out, we had walked on the larvae of fireflies: Lampyridae.  They are a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles, and commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs and create a cool light through bioluminescence.  All of these beetles lay their eggs in the dirt.  In the winter, the larvae burrow in the ground for protection.  It had rained and the ground was muddy, and we had disturbed the larvae. Only some species light up when disturbed.  We were lucky.  We got the "glow worms".  

In the late 50's, the Mills Brothers even recorded a song about these beetles.  The chorus and first verse goes as follows:

Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer                                                                                         
Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer                                                                                        
Lead us lest too far we wander                                                                                                         Love's sweet voice is callin' yonder                                                                                               
Shine little glow-worm, glimmer, glimmer                                                                                         
Hey, there don't get dimmer, dimmer                                                                                               
Light the path below, above                                                                                                             
And lead us on to love

That was a wonder-filled Winter Magical Mystery Tour!

Althea, have a great week.

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