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Last weekend, while most of the MDK crew was snaking a convoy of MDK goodies up the side of a mountain to Shakerag for the MDK Knitting Getaway, I took a few days to have some non-yarn time.

Now look: I ain’t got a problem with yarn. I work for a company that sells yarn, my sister owns a yarn shop, and I can talk about yarn the way some people talk about wine. Vouvray, Volnay, Rambouillet, Cheviot: wine, yarn, tomato, tomahto. It’s all the same crazy-specific dorky kind of insidery talk that I can never get enough of. 

That’s a lie, of course. I CAN GET ENOUGH OF IT…and after a hectic couple of weeks at MDK World Headquarters (Memorial Day sale + Field Guide 18 launch = nervous breakdown), I was happy to get away from anything resembling talking about wool and its interstices. 

So I decided to traipse off to the woods to see the famous synchronous fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ahhhh, yes, Quiet Time! Just my friend Margaret, me, and fifty thousand dudes in flip-flops and jorts, all trying to take a National Geographic-quality photo (foolishly, hilariously, futilely) in the pitch black with an iPhone. What could be more relaxing?

But actually, it was. And kind of awe-inspiring. It had rained most of the day, but everything aligned perfectly in the end (at 10 p.m.—a full four hours past my bedtime, please shut up) and as the mist rose from the forest floor, so did the fireflies to do their “Wait…wait…wait…NOW!” thing. 

It’s not that all ten million fireflies light up at once (they don’t); it’s that they all turn off in unison. At that moment, the fifty thousand people in the woods all gasp as one. It’s really quite something; you should all put it on your bucket lists (right after “think of another phrase for ‘bucket list’”).

If you made it to Shakerag—either in person or just vicariously through the postcards—I hope you had a good time! I have heard a few tales already and lemme tell you: it does seem like the fireflies weren’t the only thing that was lit last weekend.

A Giveaway

The prize? A skein of Karida Collins’s Organic Studio Sock in Nekst—with firefly flashes of green.

How to enter? Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.

Step 2: Share a tale of wonder in the comments—fireflies optional. 

Deadline for entries: Sunday, June 27, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

If comments here are on the blink, please leave your comment here.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.

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  • Fireflies! We are on our second generation of kids on the block for whom we save jelly jars to which we punch holes so fir a few minutes they can hold the wonder in their hands.

  • Did you know you can make decoy fireflies from parts bought at radio shack? I learned this at an entomology collections conference. 🙂

  • Hiking my favorite riverside trail this past weekend I was surprised as I came around a bend just as a great blue heron took off and flew upstream. He was huge, and spectacular. I had to take a minute to catch my breath.

  • Fireflies have always been magical to me. When I was a child, we would catch a jar full of them at my grandparents’ farm, carefully poked holes in the top, and put in leaves for them. Somehow, they always escaped by morning. I don’t know to this day if it was the holes or my parents, but it didn’t stop us trying to catch them again the next night! They say summer to me in a way nothing else does.

  • The most recent natural wonder that comes to mind is the freezing fog we had in the Midwest last winter. It lasted for several days and it was breathtaking to see. The air was calm and foggy, trees and brush looked like they’d been frosted with glitter, and the crows calling to each other was the only sound early in the morning.

  • I would love to see this and have added it to my own Bucket List. In her book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” author Barbara Kingsolver describes a similar scene. It is enchanting. Just like that beautiful yarn. I would also love to win the yarn

  • I love fireflies! As a child we called them “lightening bugs” and would catch them in our hands. In our current home, we have a large black walnut tree that the fireflies love. They love to gather in the tree and when they light up, the tree looks like it is full of twinkle lights.

  • How about fireworks instead of fireflies? Years ago, when I was doing my internship, my husband and I lived in Manhattan Kansas. The ‘Little Apple’. It was, well, flat! Three trees was a forest, but you could see forever and it was beautiful. The people were wonderful! Open. Welcoming. Friendly! On July 4 we all gathered in a field – because it was more open there?? When we arrived, everyone was sitting on blankets or towels – talking, singing, swapping stories. But when the fireworks started, everyone lay down. What? Never seen fireworks from that perspective, but hey, when in Kansas…… THE best fireworks ever! It was kind of like a giant sleepover where everyone was focused on what was above us. And when the fireworks were over, the stars were there – like someone took a giant bowl of sugar, and tossed it in the sky.

  • The most beautiful sunset- huge red ball of sun. Could not take my eyes off of it!

  • Every time I fly home to Colorado, I am awed by the view you get on the drive from the airport to my house. Last night it was spectacular – an amazing sunset behind the dusty, layered mountains. It’s always different and never gets old!

  • Had the privilege of spending this last weekend with my Father who introduced us the art of “wonder”. We reminisced about watching meteor showers in the crystal clear skies of western Nebraska, watching osprey’s fishing from a raft on the Snake River in Wyoming, finding Forget-Me-Nots while hiking above tree line in Colorado, watching sheepdogs skillfully manage sheep at the Meeker (CO) Sheepdog Trials, listening to Flickers (woodpeckers) search for food in our backyard trees, and yes, chasing fireflies in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. The Firefly yarn color scheme is indeed authentic!

  • I think I am lucky. I grew up in Brooklyn but spent summers and weekends in the mountains. I had the man-made wonders of the city and the natural wonder of nature. We caught lightening bugs in the evening, found little orange salamanders after the rain and watch spectacular lighting storms. In the city, my father would park on a road by the airport, where the planes took off. They were so close to you thought you could touch them.

  • I’ve just added this to my sights to see list. When I was little, we would spend most weekends at my grandparents home in the countryside. My cousins and I would eagerly watch for the lightening bugs to start blinking in the field next to the house and then have fun darting around the field after them. Grandma forbade us from catching any as she said that would make them lose their magic.

  • One of the most magical places I’ve been was the Capertee Valley in Australia, on my honeymoon. It’s a place where you have to buy whatever you need before you arrive, because there are no shops in the valley. We stayed in a guest house – no hotels either – and arrived after dark. That night, when we turned out the bedroom light, I could see more stars through the small window than I usually see in the entire sky. No light pollution, and it was pitch dark. We were up for the sunrise, and watching kangaroos drink at the watering hole behind the house with bright, colorful birds darting around and the glowing dawn colors in the background and a bit of morning mist is something that will always stay with me.

  • My biggest tale of wonder is actually related to knitting. I made my first ever sweater some years ago. When it was all done I cautiously put it on and … fit. I went to the basement where my husband was working to show it to him, and the look on his face was one of complete wonderment……just like mine.

  • I have both seen the fireflies (lightning bugs) in the Smokies and been to the MDK Shakerag Getaway. Both are fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining in their own way. I recommend both experiences in part because they require a suspension of everyday life and surrender to the moment. This is truly an attraction and lasting benefit I have found from these experiences that draw me back to them.

  • While in Hawaii for my college graduation trip mumble, mumble years ago, I saw the Kilauea Crater at night—the most spectacular natural wonder I’ve ever seen!

    • I’ve never forgotten an early experience I had as a newly certified scuba diver. My husband and I were swimming along a reef in Bonaire, NA when I decided to swim out over the edge of the reef. The ocean floor was far below and barely visible as I hung suspended in the ocean. As I spun slowly around, I imagined that this was what it would feel like if you were doing a space walk, nothing around you but space and the feelings of floating with no gravity to ground you.

  • Seeing bioluminescence sparkling in the water on a summer night is magical. I am always amazed at these tiny creatures that look like stars or glitter in the water. I’ve seen them swirling in the outlines of a passing fish while sailing at night and sparkling at the end of our oars during a nighttime row.

  • My tale of wonder is the first time, and only time snorkeling in Bora Bora and came upon lemon sharks beneath me. They took my breath away and I couldn’t swim fast enough to get out of the water.

  • I will always love fireflies; after ‘snowmagedon’ this February I was afraid that they would have been killed off, but towards the end of may one lone firefly came to light up the woods behind my apartment. Over the next few days a few more came out to flash their lights, and I was stuck with wonder at what a gift a little bug gave to the magical hour of twilight. I was so glad that the original firefly was not alone–his light was not just for my wonder and delight, but he had friends to dance the evening with. Seems like a metaphor for the last year and a half…

  • The redwood trees I grew up among and am finally getting to go visit again always, without fail, fill me with wonder. I’m so grateful to have encountered such sources of perpetual awe. My church!

  • I learned the wonder of a relationship between human and dog from a border collie named Miami. She loved me with absolute joy. It didn’t matter if all I did was leave her line of sight for a few minutes. She would vibrate with pure joy that I was back. She passed after a short illness on June 1st of this year.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss! I lost my beloved border collie, Saja, in January of 2020. Luckily Brig, a big goofy border collie who loves me with Miami-like devotion, is still around. But I’ll never stop missing sweet Saja, my very first pup.

  • I have been very fortunate to have experience some amazing sights. Looking up at the night sky on the top of Kaui , HI at the state park there. No moon and no light pollution and the southern hemisphere was a magical new world. I have never seen so many stars and the more I looked the more I could see. The there was the camping trip in the Snowy Mts in Wyoming. Very low campfire, no moon, and someone noticed a shooting star. We happened to be there for the Persias meteorite shower and was amazing. (All attempts to see them again have failed. The cloudy or rainy East makes for very disappointing viewing conditions.) More down to earth experiences are seeing the perfect owl print in deep snow on a very cold day of snow shoeing along the Cedar River in Iowa. Also saw a wolverine running across a snow field in the Shuswap Mts in British Columbia. It is also amazing to see a craft/artist who is so skillful at transforming wood, iron, glass, wool, or what ever into something very beautiful and often very functional at the same time.

  • When I was little, my grandma would invite her 5 granddaughters for a ‘spend the night’ We would collect lightening bugs in glass jars after dark, then go up to the bedroom where feather mattresses were laid out on the floor. The window was open (no air conditioning), and we’d put our glass jars on the floor and settle down for a blissful night’s sleep.

  • I’m visiting family in Minnesota right now and we’ve gotten to see fireflies here at night! Truly a wonder for us, as we live in Washington and don’t have them at home. And now after your story, I have another spot to visit!

  • Trekking through the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park was filled with wonder for me. We climbed wooden stairs to look out over the Artists’ Paintpots. Seeing the grey mud bubbling up from the iron colored earth dotted with azure pools of water was a sight I’ll never forget.

  • One of my favorite things when I was a kids was to catch fireflies! I loved that magical time of night when they lit up the sky. I remember one summer camping trip where we slept outside gazing up at the fireflies dancing through the stars.

  • Sadly we don’t have fireflies here in California. I grew up with them in Maryland but my children were deprived of this delight. However, one summer we went to Pennsylvania to visit their grandparents. Can you imagine their delight?! They were super amazed as they had never seen or heard of such a wonder. I hope I can take my grandchildren to see them some day.

    • Too dry here for fireflies too. When my kids were much younger, we were on a cross country trek, and stayed with a wonderfully generous knitter (who I had only known virtually) in Iowa. At dusk, the fireflies started coming out, and didn’t stop. More fireflies than stars, and that was saying something. My kids were awestruck, and twenty years later still tell stories of that night.

  • In the fall of 2012 my husband and I cycled our tandem bicycle from Canada to the Mexican border. The entire trip had many moments of wonder, magnified by both the effort and the slower pace of travel. Cycling through the redwoods in N. California was probably the highlight of wonder for me!

  • Fireflies. Yes, fireflies. I’m a Native Californian. We don’t have fireflies. When I’m where they are, like now, in Chicago, I’m on firefly alert at twilight. It never gets old.

  • Swimming in Bioluminescent Bay off of Vieques – each stroke lit up the water!

  • Have a fond memory of sitting crouched in a gully with a very you g nephew who claimed there was the bedt view of fireflues. We saw dozens, but were also getting bit by mosquitoes. I trued to ignore them, though because it was such a magical night for him.

  • As a child, my siblings and I would catch lighting bugs at dusk under the huge oak trees in our yard.

  • We live on a small island in Maine, so it’s a great place to look at stars, when it’s not cloudy, as it usually is. At the time of the last lunar eclipse, we decided to stay awake (or wake up from time to time and stumble out on the porch) to see it. The first time we went to look, we noticed a neighbor down the road through the trees had left their very bright yard light on. We were so annoyed! Now we wouldn’t be able to see much. An hour later, when we checked again, we saw that the yard light was much higher in the sky. Oh. Not a yard light but the very brilliant and beautiful moon! The eclipse was amazing!

  • Whenever I get the chance to walk by the ocean I am in awe. I always think world leaders should take a walk together on the beach to solve their problems. There really is something magical in the waves crashing to shore.

  • Two nights ago I was driving home on the night of the full Strawberry moon. I hadn’t been looking for it particularly although I knew it was supposed to be beautiful. As I turned onto my street, which has some good hills, I could see the moon behind the trees. But then: I DROVE UP THE NEXT HILL AND THE HUGE MOON WAS CENTER WINDSHIELD. Wow! Beautiful!!

  • Having planted things in my garden this year to attract more bees, like Lavendar and blooming garlic, it is wonderful at dusk to see fireflies light up over those same plants.

  • I still remember the fun that I had as a child catching fireflies. And now my dear 5 year old grandson is doing the same.

  • The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are amazing! The ebb and flow of colors is mesmerizing! Love watching lightening bugs in the backyard, also:)

  • Fireflies or Lightening bugs are a sign of summer in my book!
    I remember chasing them around my yard as a child, putting them in a glass jar and releasing them on hot nights in June and July. As an adult, I love watching them flicker in the night sky like a meteor shower come to earth.

  • Sitting on the back deck of a VRBO near the Blue Ridge Parkway I some wonderment wonder into the yard. As I heard some scratching and I looked up to see a bear cub scramble up a nearby tree. Then Mama bear sauntered into the yard with two more Cubs, right next to the very deck I was sitting on. I dove inside and squealed in delight to my family to come see the visitors in the yard. We had three minutes of joy as the bears turned over rocks and drank from the birdbath until they toppled it all together. I checked see a bear from a safe distance off my bucket list that day.

  • I grew up with fireflies in Kentucky, but have lived in the arid west for so long that I barely remembered them. Four years ago, on my daughter’s wedding day, I found them again at her wedding venue in Iowa. It was magical, and I cried for the wonder of it, seeing those little twinkle lights surge out of the darkness when I wasn’t expecting them at all.

  • The most amazing fireflies I have ever seen were in the rainforest leading up to the beaches of Matura, Trinidad. I worked with a community sea turtle monitoring project for a week there one summer, and every night as we drove down to the beach to patrol for nesting leatherback sea turtles, we would be treated to a show of fireflies, often different shades of green and yellow. A real treat!

  • When my twin boys were little (40 years ago). They saw a huge swath of fireflies. They were frighten as they thought it was aliens. That made me wonder what I have been reading to them!

  • Walking through Glacier National park before it was in everyone’s ”bucket list”

  • When we lived in Georgia, we had a small cabin (more of a shack, really) in the cooler mountains of Franklin, NC. I used to sit on the front porch, rocking my baby to sleep and watching those glorious fireflies. We now live in NY state and the baby is 31. Thanks for the memories!!

  • I’ve lived in Metropolitan Detroit my whole life and here at night, even on clear nights, we only see a few stars. Even when I would travel to other nearby places, I would look up at night and only see a few stars. But I once had the opportunity (26 years ago) to travel to Kenya, and there at night away from the light pollution in the area of Masai Mara I saw the most beautiful night sky. It looked light the darkest velvet carpet with millions and millions of tiny lights. It looked so close to me that I could reach out and touch it. It was truly awesome!!!

  • I once held a piece of hail as big as a baseball. Ature’s power is amazing

  • Snorkeling Tahoe, crystaline clear, crisp and cool, I love the minnows.

  • Tell me more about Atlas yarn…… looks delicious.

  • Sunsets. They are like fingerprints. Everyday has one, but each is unique depending on location, season and atmosphere. Amazing.

  • No fireflies in southern Florida. I get my moments of joy by spotting tiny fly orchids blossoming in the high branches of ancient live oaks.

  • Two baby fawns walking through the yard last night. Wonderful.

  • Last year during lockdown, we watched those same fireflies on Utube. Amazing!

  • A cabin in the north woods of Minnesota in October. Laying on your back on the deck, looking at the stars. You can see the Milky Way and shooting stars. Truly magical.

  • Several years ago, i went to Malindi, Kenya on a mission trip. The first morning, i woke early and went to sit by the beach to write about the previous day. It was ‘daylight’ out but the sun had not yet risen. I sat and watched as the sun broke through the clouds. It was amazing to watch. The restaurant was not open, but one of the servers brought me my own French press of freshly roasted Kenyan beans. I thought i was in heaven.

  • I was amazed by the night sky in Sedona, where street lights are minimal in order to enjoy the stars. The many views and waterfalls in Hawaii never cease to amaze.

  • As a child we always caught fireflies/lightning bugs in a jar and then let them go. They are still magical today. We are visiting northern Wisconsin and saw them last night- it brought up so many memories of childhood.

  • Recently, we had a hummingbird nest right outside our living room window. Like the birds themselves the nest is tiny, and what a treat to see the momma hummingbird ‘rest’ with her babies for awhile.

  • One of the most wonderful things able to enjoy was when living on an island off Atlantic Ocean I was able to see sunset on river then go to ocean and see moon rise. Both spectacular!

  • In 1992 we bought 5 acres of old farm field because the fire fly show the night we went to look at it in the dark was so spectacular. We built our home and lived there for 25 years.

  • Recent wonder, through the eyes of my child: we were on a walk on a rail trail in Cape Cod, and we came to a beach where there were over a dozen rock towers. My kids marveled at the height and balance of them, while I was in awe of the calmness around the structures on a busy beach.

  • The fireflies have just come out in force here and, after weeks of cicadas, it’s a VERY welcome change! I love turning off the lights as I’m ready to go to bed, letting my eyes adjust to the darkness, and then taking a peek out the window- it’s like the world is sparkly with all the fireflies twinkles.

  • “Fireflies” is enough to remind me of summer vacation, eating vegetables straight from the garden, and my childhood backyard.

  • Thank you for the lovely essay about your trip to see the fireflies. In general, today’s issue of MDK has been a delight that I have actually sat down and enjoyed. With a cup of tea, not coffee. I grew up with fireflies in Western Pennsylvania. Two delights of my adult life have been sharing the firefly joy with my daughters, on summer trips to see their grandparents in Pittsburgh, and watching my grand daughters’ firefly joy in Texas. Stay well and I wish you much future joy in yarn and the little and great wonders of the world.

  • Some years ago, we had some European friends visiting us at our home in Maryland. After dinner, their two young sons were excused to go play in our back garden. About five minutes later, they come running back in, babbling VERY excitedly in their native Dutch. The Dad listened, then started to laugh. He turned to us and explained that the boys had just seen their first fireflies! (The parents had seen them before on earlier travels.)

    We all trooped outside to share their excitement. It was a magical evening, bringing back all the wonder of childhood joy. And it made me truly appreciate these magical creatures, who have chosen North America as their home.

  • +/- 25 years ago I met a local woman who raised Monarch butterflies. She gave me a chrysalis to take home saying the butterfly would emerge very soon. I carried it around with me wherever I went, in the car, room to room, even into my bedroom night stand when I went to sleep. ‘Very soon’ turned out to be several days, and no surprise, I missed it, but I was hooked.
    What followed was many more summers and hundreds of butterflies. I continue to marvel and wonder each time I see these creatures move from egg to caterpillar, chrysalis to magnificent butterfly. It never ceases to amaze me. The larger life metaphors are not hard to see.
    Fireflies are pretty cool too!

  • Discovering the amazing Ebony Jewelwing Damselfies on a morning walk along a creek. My eye caught some small black fluttering among the grasses and when I looked closer I saw their electric blue bodies. And I learned that damselfies hold their wings above their body, in contrast to dragonfly wings

  • Recently I found an abandoned tiny fawn with an injured leg stumbling in the middle of a back country road where I live. She was no bigger than a cat and cried like a little goat. I spent a wonderful afternoon with her while I found a wildlife rehabber to take her in. I see deer all the time where I live, but this magical little baby who was so sweet and trusting was the first time I had ever touched one. I’m so grateful to live in an area filled with wildlife. Each time I see an animal in their environment, I’m filled with joy and love for this place.

  • Saw the full moon on the night of the 24th – it was amazing and huge and hanging right over my backyard! It is a special combination when the sky is clear enough and the moon appears to be just “right there” and very close.

  • As the cicadas noise leaves us, I am enjoying a late evening walk to see the fireflies light my way

  • Last night we had a double rainbow outside my front door. The view is over the neighbors vineyard on to Grand Mesa, billed as the world’s largest flat topped mountain.

  • A tale of wonder—I found the firefly article to be my tale of wonder! That an article in a yarn blog could be so well-written, humorous, inspiring and keep me reading to the end! Well done I say!

  • it wasn’t fireflies but two years ago, i was at my family’s mountain cabin on memorial day weekend and trying to fall asleep on a lumpy mattress that i gravitate to for sentimental reasons. i looked up and noticed a green glow high in the rafters above the sleeping balcony. it was definitely some sort of bug and though they normally freak me out, this intermittent bioluminescent pinprick of light was soothing. the next day, i questioned my biologist aunt about it and she said it was some sort of rare click beetle. and she was very jealous i’d spied it!

  • My husband saw a coyote I the early morning crossing the street outside our apartment in San Francisco. It looked right into his eyes. Then it took off.

  • loved collecting and watching fireflies as a kid, when we showed the generation of kids under us in age, as they came of age to understand, their amazement on their faces, brought much joy. My niece said Princesses must come here to collect them for their movies, we all laughed.

  • Tales of wonder, watching the northern lights dance across the night sky.

  • Fireflies, Lightening bugs as I knew them growing up in the Midwest. Nature’s Magic Show. I loved catching these as a child, putting in a Mason jar with holes poked in the top and grass in the bottom of the jar for them to sit upon. Maybe the truest magic was their ability to “be gone” by morning. My siblings and I never figured out how they could get thru those tiny air holes in the lid. Maybe, just maybe, My Mother provided that “magic” by releasing them after we went to bed. Awww, such fond memories.

  • My tale of wonder happened when I was about 17 & riding my bike in the little suburb where I lived. I looked up at the sky and saw my first ever gigantic orange harvest moon! I screamed. My friend almost fell off her bike laughing. I thought it must be the end of the world. Ever since then when I hear there’s going to be a harvest moon, I very cautiously look up into the sky to see if that giant orange thing is as amazing as it was that first time!

  • The migration of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes in Nebraska in late March, early April. Especially at 4 am in an nature center Audubon blind, a must for anyone’s bucket list!

  • I love to gaze in wonder at nature, but it’s people who are really inspiring to me — especially people with enough determination to stick with long or tedious projects. I’ve been having that reaction to the Odd Tinkering YouTube channel since my daughter introduced me to it — restoring tossed out electronics. Not even rare stuff! Just like a discarded beige PC keyboard. The care taken with this, the slow process, the final result — wonder is a good word for my reaction.

  • I will never forget seeing the Fire flies light up the sky when we were visiting family in Vermont what a beautiful sight.

  • Bioluminescence while skinny-dipping with my pal at her west-coast beachside home; the Aurora Borealis one magic night while camping in the Kootenays, but never fireflies. Not yet, but some day!

  • I’ve never experienced a firefly but am amazed when I see them on film.
    My most recent awe inspiring time was with three fabulously fun girlfriends in Yellowstone Park. We watched “in awe” as a bison gave birth. Wow!!!

  • I’m a Michigander, but was vacationing In Florida. I was strolling a beach as I love to do and noticed 2 dolphins close to the beach. I walked closer to the water and noticed for at least a minute one of the dolphins was keeping pace with me and was up high enough in the water that I realized he or she was watching me. It finally swam away, but it was a fantastic nature moment for me that I won’t forget.

  • Is it a cop out to say cicadas? I love just outside of DC. They were every where a few weeks ago and now they are gone- just a scattered carcas and wing here or there. And I miss them and their alien drone.

  • Not fireflies, but lovely blue damselflies in my backyard! This morning one even landed on my shoulder for a few moments. Didn’t get a picture.

  • Looking up at the sky on a clear, dark night and timing to see the International Space Station.

    • I never get tired of seeing that when it passes over my house! Really neat to see.

  • A year ago I spent some quiet time with glow worms in NZ. It was magical, except for the people who had trouble obeying the sign to stay quiet.

  • An actual firefly story: In my junior year of college, I answered an ad to join in a drive across country, from Santa Cruz, CA to Washington DC. We three strangers shared nothing in common but a hurry to get there, so only stopped for gas, meals, and a few hours for sleep in Indiana. Probably needless to say, by the time we got to Ohio we had LONG since stopped speaking to each other and ached to be done! I was riding “shotgun” in the middle of that Ohio night and turned to look out the window…to see a open field full of beautiful, teeny, twinkling lights. As a Californian who had never been east of Reno, I had never seen a firefly; my tired mind could not imagine what I saw seeing. I thought: “well, now I am hallucinating!” so I succumbed and broke the silence and asked the driver if he saw what I saw, too. “Those are fireflies, sheesh!” Don’t worry–his derision did not dampen my happiness and fascination for fireflies!

  • Way back in the day, seems like a lifetime ago, fireflies lit the streets of New York City. I remember running up and down a city sidewalk to catch them and put them in a jar. Those living lanterns fascinated me. When it was time to go upstairs to bed, the fireflies needed to be released. Most flew out happy to be free. A few stragglers needed to be gently coaxed out. The wonder of those days of my distant childhood have never left me. Just hearing/reading the word fireflies makes me smile.

  • March 2020: Went to Namibia in Southern Africa for vacation. It was a trip 10 years in planning.

    Namibia is one of the least populated countries in the world. We stayed at a place that had guest houses, not hotel rooms, in the middle of a dry plain surrounded by mountains. Oryx and zebra and hyenas came to the watering hole every night to drink.

    As if that was not magical enough, I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my 50 years of living. It did arch across the sky, from one mountain to another. It was so bright I could read by it. But who would look down when this was up above?

    It was amazing to see and to think about humanity through the millennia seeing in, developing stories to explain it, the cosmos, the meaning of life.

  • We visited the lovely town of St. Ives in England. Spectacular walk along a rugged shore with geysers of waves drenching the rocks. It was a trip to remember.

  • A tale of wonder: when I was eight years old (you’ll be able to do the math in a moment) my Dad was on the tech crew of the original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie. I was positioned at a spot in the stage right wing and told not to move. At one forever-etched-in-my-memory moment Chita Rivera, the original Rosie, leaned over me, pinched my cheek, and asked “whose little boy are you?” I’m not entirely sure if I knew the word/concept “glamour,” but at that moment I was in her thrall and knew I would have a life in the theatre. And that, dear folks, is exactly what happened. Now retired, it’s the first tale of wonder that streaked across the movie screen that plays behind my eyes.

    • My tale of wonder happened about 5 yrs ago at sunset in a kayak in Bar Harbor, Maine. I had just turned the corner of an island in the harbor and was greeted with the most peaceful and serene sight of my life. I sat in the kayak, took a deep breath, and watched the sky change colors as the sun set to the sound of the buoys chiming in the soft, salty air, full of appreciation and wonder at our marvelous world.

  • I watched the Strawberry Super Moon rise over the mountains this week. So incredibly beautiful. Full moons always give me pause to remember that it only takes a little light to bring awareness to the shadows of my life.

  • I so miss lightening bugs. We don’t seem to have them in Southern Florida. On Long Island we would always catch them and put them in jars to light our nights sitting out on the porch. Then let them go at the end of the night to catch again the next night.

  • We were driving home from church and were on a bridge over the Little Miami River in Southwestern Ohio. I was in the passenger seat and a huge bird came up from the river and over the car. It took a minute for it to register that it had a white head and tail. It was a bald eagle.

  • A year after we were married my husband took me to one of the campgrounds he spent time at as a child. Then we took a hike up to the smaller snow in July lake that is super special to his childhood. There apparently was a small waterfall but it had blown out over the past 20 years. The hiking trail had not been maintained and it was overgrown. The hike itself was steeper than we thought it was going to be. We made it. The water was so clear, blue and cold – because despite it being 4th of July weekend there was still snow there. It was one of those places where we were alone in the world. We had such a great time hiking there and back talking the whole way and nothing tasted better then the cooler of ice cold izzy drinks when we made it back to the car.

  • I dyed yarn with kool-aid today and it was surprisingly fast and easy! A LYS hosted the event and I met a friend there and we had a blast!

  • While making my morning coffee recently, a din of squawks came pouring through my open kitchen window. Looking out, I saw several crows flitting around yelling at several bluejays, which were responding in kind, all of them vying for control of the best perching spots on the antennae and railings around the roof of the neighboring building.

    I’ve lived in this apartment for 20 years and 3 months. I’ve seen a lot of work-a-day sparrows and wrens, mourning doves, squirrels, raccoons, and even the occasional gull on that roof, but never before a single crow OR bluejay, much less a flock of each at the same time.

    I’m convinced that last spring’s lockdown of NYC has resulted in a couple new generations of birds born with the inner conviction that they own the joint. (Perhaps they do…)

  • I remember fireflies. As a child, we would play outside late on hot summer nights The fireflies signaled us it was time to say goodnight and go inside. Of course then I thought of them as beautiful fairies. ❤

  • I don’t recall ever seeing fireflies when I was growing up in South Dakota. We lived at our lake cabin (true cabin — no running water, no indoor plumbing) in the summers and surely would have seen fireflies if they were around, since we were outside all the time. But here in Minnesota, I eagerly look forward to the first sighting of fireflies in the summertime. After we made part of our property a native prairie, the fireflies became even more numerous and each evening I eagerly wait the dusk and the sparkling fireflies in the field.

  • I’ll never forget the thousands of stars, like fireflies covering every part of the sky, one night on the floor of the Grand Canyon late in the night before our small group was set to hike up to the top. The wonder of that sight knocked me on my seat as I got out of the tent to look around. Still does. I would love to see the stars like that again.

  • Amazing as it might sound, our exchange student had never seen fireflies until she came to America. Once the wonder had passed, she spent her first evening catching the litttle creatures and letting them go. Of course we had to join her! What fun, running around and giggling like a group of 9 year olds.

  • Fireflies = summer

  • We don’t have fireflies in my part of Colorado, so it’s a great thrill to travel to areas that have them.

  • Fireflies are such a wonder to this west coast lady. But the northern lights are what I’m dreaming of lately.

  • Current wonder- watching four different kinds of birds nesting and either feeding babies or sitting on eggs in my yard. The whole process is so amazing to watch! So far I have baby chickadees, swallows and white breasted nuthatches. Two bluebird eggs will, hopefully, produce beautiful little bug eaters!

  • There is a tunnel in the mountains leading to Yosemite. As you emerge from that tunnel you get the first glimpse of El Capitan and Half Dome and the wondrous beauty of Yosemite. The view is simply breathtaking and I have never lost that sense of awe and wonder that I feel when I see that vista…it just never gets old!

  • I live in Southern California so we don’t have fireflies. What we do have is amazing weather which allows us to spend time outside just enjoying being together.

  • Seeing starlings working on a murmuration above my busy street in Paris (France) , landing on the trees in front of my window and then leaving all together to uptown. So many of them!! I hope they will be back next year!

  • At the ocean, at night, moonlit or starlit, with flashes from a far-off lighthouse, you begin to understand how large the world is, and how small you are. And yet you can make a difference in the world.

  • My longest-standing friend hosted us for a week in VA when my daughter was around 6 SPECIFICALLY so that our west-coast-raised kiddo could see the magic that is fireflies.

  • One summer in college, my BFF and I sublet part of a farmhouse on the edge of town. One beautiful evening at dusk, we ran into the just-cut field of alfalfa to dance with a billion fireflies. I can never smell that green smell without being transported back.

  • Sitting on a hotel room balcony during a study abroad trip to China a few years ago, my colleagues and I were surprised and delighted by luminescent birds, stars, and ribbons of light that just seemed to appear out of nowhere above the lake in front of us. We watched them dance and bob and swing for hours. The next morning we learned that we’d seen an annual kite festival – with new LED light technology, they had added a nighttime flying session!

  • Ah, fireflies. I’m a little beyond middle-aged and still become a kid whenever I see them. Chasing them in the backyard on summer nights, barefoot. We called them lightning bugs.

  • Seeing the amazement and surprise of friends who have never experienced fireflies never stops being wonderful!

  • Malaysia has a species of firefly that DOES turn off and on at the same time. The group on a bush blinks to its own beat, the group on the tree next to is does their own thing, and the group next to that makes their own music. They’re endangered, so you can’t touch them, but if they land on your open hand, well, put your other hand out! Our tour group was in a rickety boat along the shoreline of a pond and we all put our hands out and had a little group of fireflies rocking out on the boat with us. MAGICAL.

  • During lockdown I was still going in to work and on a spring day on my bike ride home, a fox just bounded across an empty parking lot I was crossing thru. I stopped and just drank it in instead of trying to fumble for my phone and document it. Did not think the only time I’d see one in the wild would be in a parking lot. But I think the animals were glad us humans took some time to be more quiet and leave them be. It was glorious.

  • I clipped a photograph of Iguazu Falls from a magazine and kept it on my fridge for more than a decade. I never dreamed that I would be able to travel there in person, let alone show it to my mother, but we went there in 2014. The experience was magical – you could step right underneath the most powerful falls.

  • The very first time I saw fireflies was while sitting one evening in someone’s back yard overlooking the ocean in Nova Scotia and suddenly there were all these tiny blinking lights! Totally amazing thing to see after 60 years of life!

  • I love yarns that remind me of nature. That mean s I have a large stash of yarns in ocean colors. The yarn featured here is great because of the use of the neutral gray paired with the pop of the bright green. This does remind me of those moments walking through the woods when the sun pops through the leaves and highlights a plant.

  • Growing up in Tennessee, fireflies were a normal part of summer evenings as the sun was setting and the night turned dark. I don’t ever remember mosquitos being a nuisance on those magical evenings. I’ve been enjoying the fireflies as always but was surprised at Shakerag this year when a fellow participant stated this was the first time she had seen a firefly (she’s from the Pacific Northwest). It made me so happy to hear a fellow human express awe at a yearly (but magical) occurrence.

  • I feel sad for the people I have met since moving to the west coast of Canada who have never had the opportunity to see the magnificent sight of fireflies in the dark of night. Don’t know if it is only a back east thing or not but I haven’t seen any since I’ve been here.

  • this latest full moon still there in the am.
    plus butterfly.
    Great start to the day

  • No fireflies where we live, although i have find memories form childhood! But my camping weekend moment of wonder was sitting on the lakefront with my wee dog, and having Old Worl Swallowtails flit about. I was hoping for one to land on me but no luck—they did, however, land on my knitting which was lovely green (Swamo) yarn from Hedgehog Fibers.

  • I see your fireflies and I offer up: spring peepers so loud you can’t possibly sleep. They are the sound of spring arriving. (I live in the great white north and we look forward to snow melt.)

  • Fireflies (or lightning bugs, as we used to call them) were the original childhood night-light. Catch a few in a jar with some grass in it and holes in the lid, release next day and repeat that night. Good times!

  • Seeing a rainbow on the first day of a trip to Madrid in 2018 – a good omen!

  • Sound of cicadas… sight of fireflies… remembering childhood.

  • Wonder is all around us… we just have to pay attention! While fireflies are really a sprinkle of summer fun I am always thoroughly enchanted by the moon. Thanks for sharing this beautiful skein by Karida and NFC.

  • Dawn at a special place along a rocky shore on Oahu, Christmas Eve morning, with loved ones, especially a 1 year old. Magical, and I think about it every Christmas.

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