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We don't have lightning bugs here in Oregon, as Pamela Loxley Drake laments, but we can still embody their spirit.

COURTESY PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA - Lightning bugs, or fireflies, illuminate a night scene. These iconic insects of the Southern, Eastern and Midwestern United States are rarely found in the Pacific Northwest.Since 1978, I have lived in Oregon. I consider it my home state.

There are a few things I miss that could not bring with me. Those special things that do not exist here.

June. My sister June was born on June 1. Most of my life, I have called her June Bug. I don't know if she appreciates it or not, but I find it endearing and appropriate.

Spring in Ohio was always exciting for the kids. We waited and waited to see the first one. Once we did, we ran into the house and grabbed a jar and raced around the yard to capture the blinking lights.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeLightning bugs, or June bugs, have arrived. Even now, I'm itching to get back to Indiana and Ohio next week to see the phenomenon they create.

Little dots of light flickering in the dark just make a kid want to capture one, holding it in her hand watching the light show. Yep, that kid is me.

I will be in Ohio when you read this column. This trip back will be difficult as we say our final farewell to my oldest sister.

This time of mourning has been difficult. The family will be together once more. I will be with my own June Bug.

It is sad when death seems to be the catalyst that pulls us all together. We all have lived in different states. There is no time to undo the times we have missed.

Light. It is so important to our existence. The light of the sun, the light of our faith, the light of that special someone brings into your life.

Light. Little lights that will watch over my sister's resting place.

I will smile and revel in the memories of Brenda and I running around the barnyard chasing light. I will smile remembering my own children marveling at the sight and running around the yard with their cousins. Now I get to see the awe and wonder in the eyes of Emma and Nolan as they meet their first lightning bugs.

No, we do not have lightning bugs in Oregon. I miss those twinkling insects that bring such joy. Maybe I could grab a jar, run with the kids and capture a few to bring back to Oregon. Hmm.

In a time of fear and darkness, we need all the light we can capture. As we sang in Sunday school, "This little light of mine. I'm gonna let it shine." Be like a lightning bug.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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