If you catch a firefly
and keep it in a jar
You may find that
you have lost
A tiny star.
If you let it go then,
back into the night,
You may see it
"I have never seen a firefly, all my life..."
"Ganun? Kahit sa books? For sure, meron nyan sa Science books ng daughter mo..."
I actually thought my officemate was joking, but she's not. She grew up in the city. She's 36 years of age and a single mother to a 7 year old girl. Of course she saw them on books and on the internet. But she hasn't seen a real, live firefly.
Then I thought, the last time I saw fireflies was when I went to a trip to Bohol. And that was three years ago. For the longest time, I couldn't recall seeing fireflies in the city. Where have they gone?
I remember, when I was little, my dad took my brothers and I to his hometown in Marinduque during a summer vacation. At nighttime, the backyard of my grandparents' house would be filled with glittering lights from fireflies. I even asked my dad if we could make Christmas lights out of them.
He said no.
The curious little me, then, asked why not.
Dad caught 4 fireflies with his hands, and put them inside a clear plastic bag.
He explained to me that if you put them inside a plastic bag, they wouldn't be able to breathe. They'd die if they were to be made as Christmas lights. And I watched as one of the four little glowing creatures slowly lose it's light.
"Go to your lola, tapos hingi ka ng garapon, rubber band, at aspile..."
I wonder what those are for, but I obeyed. When I got back with the things that dad needs, he told me to carefully watch what he would do.
He transferred the fireflies from the plastic bag to the empty bottle of jam. Then, he used the plastic bag as a lid, and sealed it with a rubber band. Then, he poked the plastic lid with a needle, making lots of tiny holes on it.
"Ayan..." dad said.
I was in awe, and I was staring at the bottle for a couple of minutes to observe how the fireflies move inside.
"I enjoy mo na anak, ha? Bukas, pakakawalan na natin sila..." dad said.
I asked him why, and he explained that they belong to nature. They are free, and they should remain free. People should only appreciate their beauty, and not make them as pets.
When the morning sun was up, I set them free; just how dad ordered me.
"Oh, mamayang gabi, kasama na ulit nung tatlong alitaptap yung pamilya nila. Magkakasama na ulit silang magpapailaw." dad said.
"Fireflies are indicators of the balance in ecology. The reason why we don't see fireflies anymore is because the air is really dirty." ~Katti Sta. Ana, The Firefly Brigade
How about you?
When was the last time you've seen fireflies in the city?