Free Press Journal

The blissful sight of magical firefighters


It’s time to look at the lightning bugs and rediscover the ‘cold light’ within us

It took me a while before I started to write this one. Usually, it’s not the case. But this time the wavering mind was just not letting me to be myself. It happens with everyone, if not often, but one still goes through this experience at least once in life. Just when I was about to take a break from my writing desk, I noticed something beautiful outside my window. And that lit the spark to narrate yet another long forgotten wonder of life.

Fireflies (commonly known as lightning bugs) were all around the place including each and every tree in the surrounding. It was a sight no less than that of a festival one. Fireflies produce a chemical reaction inside their bodies that allows them to light up. Unlike a light bulb, which produces a lot of heat in addition to light, a firefly’s light is cold light, without a lot of energy being lost as heat. This is necessary because if a firefly’s light-producing organ got as hot as a light bulb, then the firefly would not survive the experience.

That’s exactly where we can draw one of the most important lessons in life, glow like Fireflies but don’t let your ego heat up so much to burn down your radiance. Somewhere deep within we all have this glow (you can call it aura if that helps you to relate in a better way).  Our surroundings, our actions, our thoughts go on to decide whether we increase or deplete this glow.

As a child during monsoon, our friends used to move out in the evening with containers to catch few of these Fireflies. It was a moment of happiness topped with equal amount of curiosity to observe them glow in that container placed on our study table with lights turned off. As the time would pass by their glow would become dimmer and dimmer, an indication that we need to set them free again (which we always did). As we would open up the lid, one after the other they would fly with their glow gradually returning back to its optimum level.

Later as we grew up and read about Fireflies we realized that they control the beginning and end of the chemical reaction, and thus the start and stop of its light emission, by adding oxygen to the other chemicals needed to produce light. This happens in the insect’s light organ. When oxygen is available, the light organ lights up, and when it is not available, the light goes out.

Today after so many years I suddenly happen to spot them outside my window and I realized something very significant. With the passage of time I might have depleted my aura with a wavering mind which was just not letting me to be myself. But these Fireflies who lit-up our childhood evenings were doing just the same during our mid-life turmoil too. It was once again a blissful sight, in a ‘Cold Light’.