Jesse Gall

Fireflies Like Flashbulbs Part One

In Humor, Local, The Mountains, Uncategorized on June 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I did it. I finally did it. Nature opened her doors to me and through the lens of the synchronous firefly Photinus carolinus she showed me a light show reminiscent the night scenes in James Cameron’s Avatar. Three days of failed efforts have paid off, as every piece finally fell into perfectly in place. Not to say it didn’t take some effort and take some time.

Arriving around four o’clock, we camped out and played cards, chasing shade for four hours in the parking lot of the Sugarlands Visitor Center before the trolleys finally started to roll in around 6:45. Hundreds of people began to fall into line as the six brown and red trolleys puttered in to take us away to the Elkmont area inside the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Packed like a New York subway car, the trolley snaked through the mountains for ten minutes before arriving at 555 Middle Of Nowhere Drive. You’ll know you’re there when a park ranger sitting at a folding table hands you a piece of red cellophane to tape over your flashlight. Why red cellophane you ask? The fireflies prefer mood lighting for their mating dance? No. Apparently, fireflies hate white light and  I can’t blame them because, quite frankly, I did too. It kills visibility and completely impairs anyone’s ability to see these finicky flies of fire! I, like a smart person, chose to forget my flashlight in the car. Others could learn from me. More on the evil flashlight-holders later.

Our fancy cooler rolling behind us like a piece of airport luggage, the four of us moved on down what I would call a slightly paved path. What I mean by “slightly paved” is that I’m very sure this particular path was paved at least once. Probably around the same time pavement was invented. Needless to say, our fancy cooler had become difficult to roll.

I digress. So I throw the obnoxiously bulky cooler over my shoulder and the four of us continued on, pushing forth into the forrest just as the sun began to give it’s first appearances at setting. It had started to fade, the light. But the electricity still roared. On the left, giant trees and a rushing river, quick with punchy little rapids and huge rocks undressed by a shallow tide. The water had fallen miles and miles away on a mountain somewhere, probably yesterday.

On the right of the path, the forrest extended into a green darkness as far as the eye could see. A horizon made completely of vegetation, a wall of ferns and weeds and flowers and trees formed with force, a forrest so complete it only broke to reveal the few  rundown tucked away private residences that rest here. They were dirty and haunched places, no regard for cosmetic considerations. I almost judged these dirty houses. I almost judged these people for how they live among the fireflies. What a thought.


Until the end, the Mended Blend


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