A friend mentioned the 10 most dangerous cities in Iowa, and I’ve lived or worked in half of them. Iowa gets a bad rap sometimes, but there are good things here, too.

One of them is fireflies. There’s a great sense of wonder in so many kids where these are concerned, tiny glowing flying creatures that only come out part of the year. Why is that so wonderful?

When I was small, I thought they were myths. Fireflies- I don’t care how many Iowa natives try to correct me that they’re Lightning Bugs- are creatures of beauty and awe. My mother had never seen one until we moved to Iowa. And my cousin and I always wrote in letters (on paper- through the postal service) about me sending fireflies to her because she never had them in Montana, either.

These myths change our perceptions of the world, and when they’re true, you find a piece of the impossible in your everyday life. We drove home after a wedding, and I smiled to watch the fireflies out the car window. I remember catching them in a jar and then letting them go.

My kids live in a world with fireflies. My worlds are filled with dragons and other impossibilities when I write, so it’s nice to have at least one in the world around us.

Though the more I think about lightning bugs, the more I think they deserve a special place in some awesome steampunk story. We’ll see how that turns out.

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