Ah, Mondays. Always such an unpleasant beast, a day only meant for enduring and muddling through in the best of circumstances, but sometimes gearing up for the workweek feels particularly difficult. I’ve just finished a relaxing weekend and I’m struggling to find my motivation mojo right now.
My weekend was enjoyably capped yesterday by my adorable three-year-old cousin’s birthday party, followed by a few fun sets of tennis with my brother, all done under perfect midsummer weather and in a Riverdale park that brought back memories of my Midwestern suburban upbringing.
It was the fireflies, really. Nothing signifies carefree childhood nights in the middle of a St. Louis summer like the presence of those luminescent creatures, and they were out in full force yesterday. I’m not a religious person – something I’m sure I’ll expound on at some point as the topic often goes hand and hand with questions of mortality – but there is something majestic, magical even, about a little nothing beetle that has evolved to exhibit such an impressive power. They don’t bite or sting or even buzz loudly; in my (undoubtedly human-centric) view, it’s as if they exist for no other reason than to provide a beautiful background and a bit of mood lighting for romantic late summer evening walks.
Maybe I just still have high oil prices on my mind, but watching the fireflies also made me wonder why we haven’t somehow harnessed that process for our own use. Did a little research and it turns out we do actually use the firefly’s chemical enzymes to search for life on other planets, to detect bacteria and even cancer cells in blood and urine (and to create the common glow stick, so it’s nice to see the firefly is also enhancing the drug-fueled trip of your average clubgoer).
I found myself reading a lot about the firefly (family name, Lampyridae) and the science behind the luminescence. As usual, science once again proved its limitations as an adequate substitute for good old religious mysticism (not to mention, childhood wonder). Frankly, some of the magic disappears when you find out fireflies use their light mainly for catching chicks and getting some action, and that the females of certain firefly species mimic the lighting pattern of other species in order to lure an unsuspecting male and then eat it.
Kinda sounds like some of my Mondays.