Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo hasn’t got round to mentioning it yet, but the fireflies (or lightning bugs, if you prefer***) have been back out at Port Swiller Manor for about a week or ten days now.

Lightning bugs (or fireflies, if you prefer) are definitely Ol’ Robbo’s favorite insects.

I understand that this isn’t exactly a competitive bracket, most bugs being either annoying, disgusting,**** or (in the case of yellow-jackets, paper hornets, and scorpions which with I’ve had encounters) painful. But whereas I casually like, say, butterflies, crickets, and certain of the less-scary spiders, I really like fireflies, and their reappearance in early to mid-June in these parts always makes me very happy. Which is why I make a point of adding this same post year after year even when I’ve got nothing original to say about the matter.

I recall somebody here years ago, when Ol’ Robbo had a wider readership, saying there were no lightning bugs in their neck of the woods, somewhere in the Great Plains, I b’lieve. I still remember thinking what a shame that was. Subsequent poking about on the innerwebz suggests that they aren’t altogether unknown west of the Mississippi, but that they are much rarer there, particularly in the Upper Midwest. We certainly had them in the South Texas of my misspent yoot (I used to catch them and release them in my bedroom) and I positively saw some a few years back along the banks of the North Platte in Casper, Wyoming. But I gather there just aren’t the galaxy-like swarms we can get here in the East.

As I say, that’s a shame, because on a warm, still, summah evening, still dripping from the thunderstorms that rolled through earlier, when the little beasties fill the trees in their hundreds and thousands, flickering away in miniature answer to the real lightning still visible off to the south and east? Well, regular friends of the decanter will know that Ol’ Robbo doesn’t go in for the schmaltz much here, but that’s magic, that is.

*** I’ve no idea what the breakout is between people who say “firefly” and people who say “lightning bug”. Are they regionalisms? I grew up hearing both, but even though I lived in the South, my family were Yankees.

****Speaking of disgusting bugs, the Brood X cicada swarm is definitely winding down its appearance. Good riddance, says I.