Far from my childhood of running around the backyard with an empty dill pickle jar, I stood on the side of a road staring into the unreachable woods. Car headlights sporadically lit the trees while I stood amongst the blinking crowd. We were tourists, there only to see fireflies. And for a moment, we were swept back in our memories. Then another car passed, its headlights pulling us to reality once more.
|In the mountains of Misato, in Yoshinogawa City.|
It strikes me as strange: driving an hour into the moutains in order to stand at the side of the road for the mere glimpse of a lightening bug. The Japanese people I spoke with all said yes, they, too, caught lightening bugs as children. All I can do is wonder how. It isn't possible to catch them over the highway barrier that kept us from falling off the road into a ravine. Has Japan changed so much? Is this the only way to see lightening bugs in Japan - once a year standing across a chasm?
|Car headlights lit the trees.|
The thoughts are uncomfortable ... they naturally lead me back to my own past. They make me wonder if Iowa, too, has changed so much. Do children there still run around the backyard catching fireflies, or is there now a chasm at home? Maybe the chasm is in my memory. Are those hundreds of fireflies I remember simply the natural exagerration of a small child, to whom everything seems bigger?
Lightening bugs are beautiful and wondrous creatures. Seeing them last weekend made me smile - but it was not the same. Very little makes me miss Iowa summers, but Misato's Firefly Festival might do the trick.