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Much unmentioned life along Little Crum Creek moves unseen in the cloak of night.

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That partly explains the appeal of fireflies, whose silent lights beside the water draw me raptly to the dark yard through June and July.

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This year’s first lights appeared at the end of May as single, unheralded flickers that would reach their numbered peak a month later.

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Now, near the end of July,  yellow-green lights barely dot the air above the creekside.

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But the season’s variety of flashing patterns and colors here has suggested the presence of several different species of lightning bugs along the banks.

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Many emit a single light every 3-4 seconds, tracing a yellow “J”  low to the ground or dotting the trees high above.

Some flash 3 times, others 12, as they cross the night.

Some light twice per second in the rhythm of a heartbeat.

Others emit a startling, 5-pulse pattern like a strobe.

And a few sail elegantly through space on single horizontal trails of greenish light.

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Pinpointing the different species, though, can be tough. And Firefly Watch, out of Boston’s Museum of Science, provides some useful resources to help people try.

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For now, I’m just impressed with the simple fact of bioluminescence and the quiet attention it inspires.

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So, here, I simply open the camera to share what the fireflies themselves are writing in the night.

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Inspired by blogs like Nature Posts  and Hawthorne Valley, each of these pictures captures an 8-15 second period of time during which most bugs will flash multiple times while passing through a single frame.

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By the photos alone, we might trace the flashing patterns of several individuals.

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So I leave you with these primitive shots (whose lights look better when clicked to enlarge), that I too might be quiet again, and return my attention to those silent emblems of all that’s left unseen & unsaid along the creek.

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