It was the eve of June 20, summer solstice, and I was in fairy land. I had started to climb to the lookout above Zebegeny and had decided to continue walking, as it was finally cooling off after the heat of the day. It was about 9:20pm, and dusk was falling. But as it was solstice, the longest day of the year, it was still light under the sky. It was only when I came to a grove of trees and was in their shadow that I began to see small lights, everywhere. Fireflies! They were also celebrating, the way people did in days of old, with fire and light. The females were relegated to the ground, with faint glowing lights revealing their locations. The males flew low, looking for these lights. Occasionally I would see a male descend and find his way toward a ground-dwelling female. As I walked deeper, I found congregations. They seemed to like quiet glades near water. I felt blessed by the fey as I gazed in wonderment. I hadn’t planned this. Each night when I’d arrived back at Luis’s home, I had been so delighted to discover these amazing creatures flying around his garden. I hadn’t realized that this only occurred for a few weeks in June and July.
As I continued, I heard what sounded like deer crash through the wood. I thought about the Hungarian myth about two brothers coming upon a golden stag which had a cross in its antlers, a sign that this was sacred ground and should be the foundation for a new country. I felt like I was in a dream, stumbling through the semi-darkness led by the fairy lights that hovered and zoomed around me. I felt almost dizzy as they bombed past. It was other-worldly and surreal, and I would have walked all night except for fear of getting lost. What a shame that I had returned Ender’s map earlier that day. I imagined reaching out to Maruska in the middle of the night or next day for help in finding my way back. I walked to where the flying beetles had slowed down considerably in a kind of rave-like trance. I spied a few females on the ground next to a pool of water, and saw more than one male get caught in the reflecting pool. I had hoped for such an experience, but hadn’t walked in the woods near Luis at night because the barking dogs ruin the moment. I began to descend, slowly, imagining that I was walking on clouds. The lights accompanied me all the way to the lookout, and I descended to my car, full of fairy light and an other-worldly calm. I would not forget this night, and the blessings I received from my firefly friends.