It's been a blessedly uneventful day. In this job, there's nothing wrong with uneventful. The llamas have come and gone, delivering fresh linens and eggs to LeConte Lodge.
Crew members Pat and Jeanie reported something interesting they saw a few days ago when they had an afternoon off. Near Cliff Tops, they saw a doe and likely just-born fawn. The fawn was wobbly, moving in fits and starts as four-legged newcomers do a few minutes after arrival. The mother was licking it clean. Most years, we usually have some fawns roaming around the lodge.
Most of our LeConte wild critters are good neighbors, especially the deer and salamanders. I like the bears (that humans haven't ruined) and ravens a lot, too. The deer are great to have next door. They always keep their grass cut, their parties are quiet and they never drop in unexpectedly for coffee. They will use the bathroom in your yard, but that's a small price to pay for a good neighbor.
I can't say that I've developed a great affinity for the squirrels, however. The boomers tend to get even more manic this time of year, so please don't feed them or encourage close encounters. We had a guest bitten by a squirrel last month at Alum Cave Bluff. I can think of 6,457 other things I'd rather spend money on than rabies shots.
On another note, I learned that Dollywood will offer a nightly fireworks show again this year from June 14-Aug. 3. I think the show begins at 9:30 p.m., and lasts for about five-seven minutes. I saw last year's show occasionally, and it was an enjoyable diversion every now and again. On a quiet night, it's also fascinating to me to hear how long it takes for the sound to reach the lodge. The LeConte Lodge dining room and porch close at 9 p.m., but there are other places to watch the show from up top if you choose.
My favorite nightly light show is underway at Elkmont campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The synchronous lightning bugs put on an unearthly display for about two weeks during late May moving toward mid June. I grew up camping often at Elkmont and my Papaw used to attend dances in the 1930s at the old Wonderland Hotel, but I never heard about the fireflies until the late 1990s. Mike Blackerby wrote a nice article about the phenomenon in the Saturday, June 7 Knoxville News Sentinel.
It's absolutely amazing to see thousands of lightning bugs (my favorite insect anyway) flash and rest in synchronization. These waves of lightning bug flashes rise up the ridges in incredible fashion on a good night. The first time I saw the firefly display it seemed like I was walking on a blinking carpet. It's the closest thing to living in a Led Zeppelin song I can imagine.
Of course, like all things, there were a rare few people there who said, "I thought the fireflies would be brighter." These are the same people who complain that Yellowstone's Old Faithful didn't last long enough or that the Grand Canyon is just a big hole in the ground or that Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii's Big Island is just a bunch of black rocks. My mom says those type people, "wouldn't be happy if you hanged them with a gold rope." Don't be one of those people.