Column: Just call me Aesop

Originally published in the Indiana Daily Student

I’ve always wondered what happened to fireflies after the summer. Nature’s little flashlights just seem to vanish as August drifts into fall.

Do they migrate? Do they die off? Do they magically transform into Christmas lights?

I’ve always kind of hoped lightning bugs hibernate through winter. You know … like grizzly bears. I imagine them nestling down into the ground, turning off their butts and taking a gloriously long nap until it’s time to brightly moon the world once again.

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what happens.

And I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from my made-up tale of what happens to luminescent beetles when the toastiness of summer wears off. Just call me Aesop.

We’ve all been told that life is a series of ups and downs. Sometimes our booties flash and other times they don’t. But even when the glow of our glutes fades, we should still enjoy life.

The joys of life are quite simple in fact. Enjoy those you love. Enjoy those you put up with. Enjoy the world around you. Enjoy the world within you. Enjoy that long, tired walk to class. One day you may be stuck in “rush to work” traffic. Enjoy that endless drone of your professor’s voice. One day you may be stuck listening to the shriek of your irate boss’ voice.

Enjoy taking naps.

Hallmark: I heard you’re looking for a job.

Me: Yes. Yes, I am.

Lightning bugs innately know how to get the most out of life.

The flying glowsticks always seem so at peace with everything. They’re the Fonz-es (is that still a valid reference?) of the insect world. They just flitter and flutter around happily emulating an insane nightlight. They’re the only bug that I’ve ever enjoyed catching. They’ll just wander around your hand calmly until they get bored with that and take back off.

Other animals should take a lesson from them. Nobody likes bees and ants because they make you feel guilty. Always busily searching for some job to do. They’re the anal-retentives of the insect world. The lightning bug doesn’t get down that way. It enjoys the life it has.

In fact, that was always my problem with Louie the Lightning Bug. The guy was way too concerned about electric safety.

I guess why I’m so concerned with fireflies is because it feels like a part of me is slowly disappearing as my time here at IU ends. And I’m thinking about how long it’s going to take me to find some place where I can glow again. But for the moment, I’m content with napping for a bit and dealing with the research paper withdrawal I’m sure to go through as the school year starts without me.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this last week here in Bloomington as I’m sure the fireflies are doing as well. I know that they will soon disappear for good, but they’ll be back sooner than you think.

So here I am, sitting beneath the gazebo by the library, holding hands with some girl who willingly puts up with me, looking down as frogs and waterbugs glide across the little stream, and above us, the last lightning bug appears and disappears, as if by magic, through the last summer night sky.

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