I have not seen so many of these creatures in my life time, they come when it is dark – I have always been afraid of the dark, they only come for a very limited period of time between May and August, mostly in June and July.
When I first met them, it was to find another puzzle, not only were slow worms not worms but lizards; glow-worms are not worms they are beetles! – language could be very confusing when I was a child:)
But the glowing, that cold green light, down there in the grass, flashing on and off. Enough to make any child believe in fairies in the garden. I never found any of their eggs but it is said even they emit a slight glow. I would like to see that.
I know now all about the substance ‘luciferin in her abdomen and how in the presence of oxygen it breaks down to produce the light; have learnt there is no heat wasted as the light is cold. I have read and watched TV shows and been told the fact that the female is in control (I like that), can control on the on-off switch. I have learnt in my last decade that light pollution has had a devastating effect on the population, as the males are fooled into thinking street lighting is the place to go.
All this I now know, but I still remember so clearly the excitement of that first glow. My last sighting of them was when I was working at a well known department store, I told the girls at work next morning, who were convinced I was having them on. I fear few have seen this particular magic.
There were many magical moments in the garden. The first realization and viewing of caterpillars wrapping a cocoon around themselves only to appear as a butterfly weeks later.
The sight of the newly fledged butterfly or indeed a dragonfly drying, warming and getting ready for flight is amazing. I have posted on the excitement, when in my middle age I rescued a dragonfly from the house, to have it grip my finger so tightly I couldn’t shake it off. The power of that relatively small body! And to face, eyeball to eyeball, that strange, weird, wonderful face, whose origins lay in the watery depths of our pond. The magic never goes, not even when knowledge and age stand side by side.
I cannot think how many hours in total I have spent watching life, alien life, magical life, all inspiring me to go find out more, to try and understand what they were all about, how it all worked. Of course not being a specialist or scientist I never will understand it all, but I won’t stop trying