I grew up calling them fireflies. It’s the eternal pop vs soda debate. When I got to college in Boulder, in spite of all the times I skied out in Colorado, I was made aware that fizzy drinks were called pop. Lol. Ok. People had full on debates, dare I say fights, about this. What is funny is my family hails from the islands and on our island they call it pop. Whatever, you do you.
Anyway, the real moral of the post comes down to capturing something un-capture-able. We were stargazing the other night. The field we were standing beside was filled with blinking fireflies lighting up the pitch black night. I tried to capture the beauty on my phone which I’ve dropped so many times it begs me to put it out of its misery. Even if the camera could capture such a thing I destroyed that potential years ago. When I got home all I could see was a black screen.
Now I know there is technology, powerful camera technology, that can and has captured these phenomena. But I argue after searching the internet the result always lacked the pure beauty of the moment. With that dark of an aperture any photographer needs to do something to be able illuminate and capture the scene even if they have the fanciest of cameras. The closest anyone came to capturing the remarkableness of such a sight was at dusk in a particular area of TN that has swarms of them. That was beautiful but it still lacked. None were able to catch the bugs in the dead of night like I saw that night stargazing.
We can argue that no film or photography ever really captures the moment. But let’s be honest there are plenty of examples of awe inspiring film and photos. National Geographic and Time have near cornered the market on powerful media images. Yet for some reason this power doesn’t translate to fireflies in the dead of night.
There may be those things that you don’t get to lockdown on paper, like UFOs and Yetis, fireflies. You have to get out there and watch, commit it to memory, write poetry about it, write lilting paragraphs of mood swelling description in your novel, but you don’t get to hit play and watch it on the screen, not to the same effect at least.
I guess that’s why there are novelists and poets, to capture the un-capture-able.