Synchronized Fireflies

Every year during the first week of June, thousands of people flock to the Elkmont campground area to see the synchronized fireflies. The little bugs will blink for a period of time, not necessarily at the exact time, but they all end up stopping at the same time.

My family goes up to Elkmont every year to camp the weekend before, during, or after firefly week. This year we were there the weekend before the madness started, and we were lucky because the fireflies were out in full force.

We arrived a day after the other two families we were staying with did, and they told us how amazing the fireflies were this year. When we finished setting up camp, it was the middle of the afternoon, so we still had some time to pass before it got dark.

To pass the time, my cousin and I set up hammocks and took a nap. I fell asleep listening to my new album. (I am actually in the mixing and mastering process of my first album, and I am spending lots of time trying to make it perfect.) I know I have said it at least once already, but I always like being in the mountains to think things through and clear my mind. While listening to my album, I was taking in the natural world around me, letting it influence the edits I wanted to make.

Eventually dinnertime rolled around, and then night fell. It was firefly time.

We walked from our site and up a familiar road to our favorite spot to watch the little bugs light up. As I mentioned before, we have seen this phenomenon numerous times before. This year, however, we experienced it with the same grandeur that we did the first time. There were so many fireflies around us, and the way they lit up was mesmerizing. We sat in the same spot for two hours, just watching and soaking in the moment.

The only problem with this event is that it is next to impossible to capture on camera. So I did my best to take a short video that you can watch. You only really see a few bugs on the film, but multiply what you see on the film by a million. Then imagine lights going on and off everywhere around you and for as far as you can see into the forest in front of you. All the lights are blinking at different rates and times. And then, all of a sudden, a wave of darkness comes over all of the lights, and they stop. If only for a handful of seconds, they all stop. It is pitch black. Then they start back up again.

I recommend that you try to see this phenomenon at least once in your lifetime. These days, you have to get a ticket or book a campsite months in advance. Nevertheless, it is just one of those things you should to experience for its simple beauty.

Long live the dreamers of the night,

Lo Main