Recently, while sleeping I felt a tickle on my arm. I slapped my arm, thinking it was a mosquito, then covered myself with the blanket. The tickle continued. I proceeded to slap my arm again knowing something had invaded my bed. I opened my eyes to find that though the room was completely dark, there was a glowing green light on my bed coming from a tiny lightning bug. Ivan tried picking him up and letting him onto the floor, but he jumped and between that and my previous slaps he was injured. I watched till his beam of light faded into a glowing, green tiny dot, then went out altogether. The next morning, I put him into a tiny glass bottle and set him beside my crystals.
I always feel such guilt when a firefly loses its life in my house. I’ve stepped on some thinking they were small roaches. I’ve since made it a point to get better about identifying bugs before attacking. I find fireflies often in my boys’ shower and find ways to catch them in cups and carry them out back to where a rebel mango tree has sprouted between the papaya trees. Sometimes in nature, we think things don’t belong, but they are just fine setting up shop there. That mango tree and those fireflies that continue to make their way inside teach resilience and determination.
Me and cucuyo/ luciernaga here go way back. Its colors and bioluminescence have inspired my portraits. Red heads, black bodies, yellow outline and green glow. Colors of black liberation. Colors of resistance, resilience and light.