My wife and I have never been to the Smokies to see the synchronous firefly show and since there is a yearly lottery for spots I assumed we wouldn’t get a chance to see them.

Turns out there is a small valley with a stream running through it and a colony of fireflies that has recently opened to the public; it’s about a four minute drive from our house. My wife found out about it yesterday afternoon and we decided to go last night. We were the first customers; we parked, paid our admission, and walked back along the stream to a widening in the gravel road. A small cottage sat at the edge of the water, a singer was already warming up, and the host greeted us and told us to set up our chairs anywhere we liked.

More people arrived as the light faded, singles and couples and families spread out along the gravel road. We faced a steep hill. Across the stream behind us was a heavily wooded area that we could barely see into even before darkness fell.

There were no city lights, no noise besides the guitarist and the conversation among the visitors, and as things got darker I began to see an occasional flash of light.

I understand the Smokies show is spectacular; this one was more subtle. Settled back in my chair, I was surprised by two, then four, then ten or a dozen fireflies flashing in unison. If I got up and walked another fifty feet or so down the road there were more; if I turned around and stared into the mysterious woods behind me there were fewer, silently flashing from deep within the trees and undergrowth. A lovely evening, right around the edge of the mountain from our house, down a gravel road I had passed dozens of times without realizing what magic there was a short drive and even shorter walk away.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

One thought on “Synchronicity

  1. wonderful! we were lucky enough to get tickets soon after we moved to TN, before the lottery began. It truly was spectacular and something we will never forget. Fireflies are my favorite, and I forgot about their magic since they have faded away up north for the most part. I remember when we were driving in Virginia to move here at night and i saw flickering by the roadside and asked my husband what that was! They’re nostalgic and evoke the wonder of childhood. Glad you were able to see them. 🙂


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