Jenny Lynn Keller
Smoky Mountains Firefly Show
I had another post for today until a local newspaper released the article, “The Smokies’ Synchronous Firefly Display is Officially Canceled.” For those unaware, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to Photinus carolinus, a species of firefly with synchronized flashing light patterns. For about a week sometime between late May and early June, a spectacular light show is provided each night by these male fireflies flashing a signal pattern only females of their species recognize. The pattern is six quick light pulses followed by six seconds of darkness, with the light resulting from the fireflies’ ability to produce bioluminescence. When a female chooses a mate, she responds with a paler light. The Elkmont area of the park has the largest concentration of these fireflies, and folks from around the world attend the popular annual event. To protect the firefly habitat and promote safe viewing, the park installed a lottery system years ago to limit the number of visitors.
Considering COVID-19 concerns, I understand why the public viewing sessions were canceled, but the article title suggests something different. Surely no one believes the fireflies will cancel their annual mating ritual. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
All joking aside, what do you look forward to doing again once the stay-at-home orders are rescinded?