One of the many things I like about memoir writing is that I get to
do research play Nancy Drew. I sometimes need to verify names and/or dates with my siblings, for instance, or track down tiny but important facts. Oh, the lovely places I’ve gone, and the fascinating people I’ve met!
I’d like to introduce you to my newest gumshoe partner. I reached out to him after a blog conversation made me second-guess the location of one of my favorite childhood memories—the magical night we danced with fireflies in the desert. My Google search (key words: fireflies and Tucson) eventually led me to the University of Arizona’s Entomology Department website. If you have questions, the web page suggested, “Start with the Bug Man.” And so I did. And the Bug Man, aka Carl, wrote me right back!
He gave me the answer I was looking for, but our communications also revealed something special about the Bug Man himself. He obviously loves his job—and life. I wish I could collect in a jar some of his child-like sense of wonder and joy, and then release that lightness of being into the universe for everyone to see! I can’t, of course, but I thought I’d share some of the Bug Man’s magic with you.*
Oh indeed we do have fireflies, usually not in the populations that people remember in grass yards back in Midwest, but certainly we have them and still do today, but maybe a bit more restricted. A friend of mine has data all along the Santa Cruz River (wash!!) corridor so it is very possible you observed such a moment around Tucson. I hope this is enough to verify your memory. What a great story to write. Would love to see it when done because people need that delight again.
Thanks for sharing,
Carl A. Olson, Associate Curator
Dept. of Entomology
University of Arizona
Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.