I have lived in Texas for nine weeks. I have been nesting here in my new home for almost six weeks. (The first 3 weeks were spent at our son and daughter-in-law's home. Thanks kids!) This born and bred California girl has been enthralled with some beautiful firsts.
My only previous experience with fireflies or lightening bugs was on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland! Tiny pulsating lights hanging from a dark ceiling do not do justice to the SIMPLE MAGIC of real fireflies!
OH MY GOODNESS! Fireflies are not flies at all. They are a species of beetle with BUTTS THAT LIGHT UP to communicate with the opposite sex! Come on! God must have been having a silly sorta day when this idea came up. The male firefly cruises around flashing a specific pattern to announce his availability to mate. An interested female will reply with the same pattern so that he can find her.
An early form of texting? But beware the habit of some female fireflies that will flash back a matching signal in order to entice the male of a different subspecies in...and then the "femme fatale firefly" will eat him!
There are even two places in the world where a mass SYNCHRONIZED flashing occurs; Southeast Asia and Smokey Mountain National Park here in the U.S. in the late spring. Don't want to speculate on what's happening there!
My first lightening bug sighting was in Writer Son and Sassy Bride's backyard during the first few nights we were here in Texas. I literally jumped up and clapped my hands! MAGICAL I tell you! I loved sitting out there every evening watching them. Butts that light up! Is that a goofy creation or what?
Another fascinating first for me has been hearing the sound of cicadas in the trees. Wow! I have read many novels full of descriptions that include "the song of the cicadas" and in my mind I just translated it to the sound of crickets at night. But no, this is totally a different "song"!
As I tried to describe it to Rocker Son who still lives in California, I said that it sounds like hundreds of rattlesnakes in the trees shaking their tails in warning. Not a pleasant picture at all, but still pretty accurate in my opinion. It is an amazing sound that just fills the air at certain intervals. It was nearly constant in our first weeks here.
Now I hear them in the trees behind our house, but it stops and starts with crazy abruptness. How do they all know when to stop? Is it even a lot of cicadas or can just one or two make such a big sound? I have no idea. I DO know that they are not a pretty creature....but neither are fireflies. Except for their butts that light up. That still makes me giggle!
The third FIRST for me has been the opposite of a beautiful first as mentioned in the first paragraph. The humidity here in Texas caught me off guard. Yes, everyone told me about it...but I did not believe it. I have spent time in Fiji and in the Philippines. Both have very high humidity. The thick moisture in the air in Fiji caused men and women to tuck dirty "sweat rags" in their waistbands in order to dry their faces off every once in a while. I now have a small collection of hankies in my purse at all times!
I am still stubborn (and old) enough to continue to put on make-up when I leave the house. But I am not sure why I do this. It melts within minutes, especially when I am getting into a hot car. I get in and FRANTICALLY start hitting buttons and directing the air conditioning at my face!
I remember entertaining visitors in California from out of state and they would talk about how our heat was a "dry heat". NOW I GET IT! Texas has an extremely WET HEAT! The numbers on the temperature gauge or the weather man's chart mean nothing without considering the humidity that accompanies it. We had tons of 100 degree days in Cali that are NOTHING like a 100 degree day here! NOTHING! In my former town we had heat-waves each summer that reached 116! BUT IT WAS A DRY HEAT!! I so get it now.
But I am becoming accustomed to it. Really I am. Now I know the secret. Texas is not an outdoorsy kind of lifestyle. It can't be...at least not in the middle of the day. We hop from our air-conditioned homes to our air-conditioned cars to the air-conditioned stores. Otherwise everyone waits until evening to hang around outside. The Hubs and I have an old habit of sitting outside in the early morning hours and again at night. We did it in California and it works perfectly here in Texas.
So the Texas education of this California girl continues. Fireflies, cicadas and humidity were the first lessons. After only 9 weeks here, I have much to learn. But it feels full of promise and new possibility. Still don't care for guns or football and I seriously doubt THAT is ever going to change. I have found that people are people no matter what state or country you call home. Kind people, mean people, gentle people and harsh people...every flavor can be found everywhere. Small town or big city, we figure out ways to live together and look for the good in one another.
At least that's what I plan to do.
And I hope to jump up and down clapping every single time I see a firefly flashing it's butt. (Speaking of jumping up and down....I also "met" fire ants for the first time too! More about that next time.)
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