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. It was my friends the fireflies. They were celebrating this day in earnest, the way people did the world over in days of old. They were illuminating their tiny lights in search of a mate. Actually, as many as they could find. 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 in the woods, I found areas where the insects congregated. It seemed that they liked quiet glades with a bit of water, and embankments. I truly felt blessed by the fey as I gazed in wonderment around me. I hadn’t planned this night walk. 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 was part of a mating ritual which only occurred for a few weeks in June and July.
As I continued, I heard a large deer crash through the wood. There are cultures who search for a magic deer on summer solstice night. Hungary had a myth about two brothers coming upon a golden stag which had a cross in its antlers, a sign that that was the place where the brothers should found the new country. I felt like I was in a dream, as I couldn’t see the path, only the small fairy lights that hovered and zoomed by me. Occasionally I felt dizzy as they bombed past. It was other worldly and surreal, and I would have walked all night but for the fact that I didn’t want to get lost. What a shame that I had returned Ender’s map earlier that day. I imagined sending my coordinates to Maruska in the middle of the night, and asking them to send a search party. I walked to a point 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.