Whitesburg KY
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In praise of fireflies



Kevin Brown and I took to a fit of mowing last weekend. I worked with my little riding mower and Kevin used a bush hog on the back of his big tractor. When all was said and done, Charlie Brown Road looked like it had been to the barbershop and the Brown’s pasture next to my house was devoid of purple blooming thorny thistle.

Loretta is trying to track Kevin down to see what kind of cake he likes best because those thistles go to seed and when the wind blows, west to east, as it almost always does in Lowell Valley, the thistle seeds somehow get parachutes and fly away from the surrounding farms and then they have a way of pulling the ripcords and landing on our place.

It’s sort of fun to watch until next spring rolls around and you discover that the only way to kill or get rid of the thistles that landed and made babies in your yard involves toxic herbicide and a ton of work. So the thing to do, if you have thistles and cooperative neighbors, is work together and kill the damn things before they take over.

In fact, there ought to be a law that requires just that, but there isn’t and landowners in central Kentucky seem burdened enough already complying with existing laws without now having to deal with thistles. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is not very cooperative and on its way to demise, but that’s another story altogether.

And now the nights set in and I sit on the front porch with a glass of iced tea that I cover with my hand to keep out the gnats as I stare in wonder at the lightning bugs that so faithfully adorn the new mown grass along our byway

Fireflies love fresh-cut anything and they congregate by the thousands here on Charlie Brown Road where Kevin and I have shorn down the tall weeds to nearly nothing so the grass has a chance to come back and show that we are civil people.

Green lights by the thousands flicker and float alongside the road and over the field that Kevin just mowed and I am thinking that, perhaps, there is nothing so wonderful in this worldly existence as a field full of lightning bugs putting on a show.


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