Fireflies

starry sky, night sky, stars-2675322.jpg

Every time I look up into the sky, I can not think as to why I see the stars the way I do. Like little fireflies, flying so far above. The photons of light travel millions and billions of miles; virgin particles until my eyes are the first things they touch. The leading astronomers look up at the same star, as do the Tarahumara, Sentinelese, and Tagaeri tribes, but they see a slightly altered image than I do, as different photons reach the retina of their eyes. A variation of the same firefly that never blinks. The air rushes in and chemically reacts with luciferin, creating the all-so-familiar light we all chased as kids.

However, these complex petite packets of light are playing tricks on the eyes that they hit. The stars shining like those little luminescent bugs are giving us a blast into the past, showing us what the sky looked like when prehistoric lizards roamed the planet. A firefly in the Ursa Major constellation may have taken its last breath at the same time an asteroid caused a T-rex to take its last, but we would not know for another hundred years when my great-grandchild is driving a hovercraft to his first day of senior year. National Geographic captures an image of this explosive event for students of the time to “see the dinosaurs.”

Walking in the woods, the dark, all alone, wishing for a sign that would lead me in the right direction back home to my little wood cabin up on the hill. Only the sounds of crunching leaves and beating wings filled my senses. A speck of light off in the distance catches my eye. So soothing this feeling deep down in my gut. Like the love you feel for your firstborn child. I followed this luminous being, blinking, blinking, blinking, calling out my name to follow. Chasing the bug like a child on a summer night, I followed it until a familiar sight eased my mind. The photons of light speeding from the lamppost passed me by like fireflies in the night.

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Zac Stanley
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Zac is a student at Butler University majoring in biology. He is from Muncie, Indiana.

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