Fireflies are a nostalgic event for this Country Mouse, as they remind her of a youth spent running through a mossy forest while barefoot in the late evening, trying to catch a few of lightning bugs for her own.

There are only a few things that this Country Mouse misses from her childhood, and the coming of the fireflies in the hot and humid summer evenings is one of them. However, it has always been one of those things that you forget about, or don’t appreciate when it goes missing- rather, it is something that will be recalled with fondness once it has been returned. I haven’t seen fireflies in over thirteen years, but tonight, I went with the Town Mouse (who has never seen fireflies in her life) to Shimogamo Shrine for the annual release of one thousand fireflies into the creek bed running through the complex.

We were invited by the Saeki’s, who preceded the event by treating us to a delicious hamburger dinner at a restaurant nearby. Afterwards, we strolled into the temple, where I bought a blueberry bush from a vendor and the Saekis took us to have matcha and sweets. We unfortunately missed the actual release of the fireflies, but were able to view an outside performance of a traditional court dance by a lady under the moonlight, and then we traveled by car to a creek near our school to try our luck at seeing the fireflies elsewhere. There weren’t many fireflies this year, and a woman who lived in the area told us it was because of the strange weather this season, but there were still enough to stand there, smiling while remembering the evenings I spent chasing their soft, neon yellow lights through the forests of my youth.

Seeing them, in all, was a relatively small affair, and not something that needs a lot of writing about, but it reminded me of precious memories, and so will likely become its own one day.

Fireflies in the Garden
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.

                                        -Robert Frost