One night a couple weeks ago, we were holding hands, walking along and I prattled as I do, and we could see beyond the fender of the car parked on the left of the street what looked like a low-slung, scruffy black cat, its tail dragged along on the ground behind it as it scrambled forward ahead of us along the gutter. No yoked oxen ever moved in such perfect unison as we did when we had stepped forward and then instantly shifted our weight on the back foot and began walking in great strides backward as swiftly, smoothly and quietly as my short little pins could manage. That was no cat. Was a skunk. Ew. *dodged a stinky bullet there.* We've laughed several times about how simpatico we were then, though. I never even broke the meter of my blathering - would perhaps have startled Stinky McStinkerson.
Sometimes there are bullfrogs around, and they always croak their chorus around the lake. "Hey Ladies! Come on over to my pad!" We make up cheesy come-hither dialogue for them. These long walks in a quiet town where they roll the sidewalks up at 8pm started off as a nice way to end the day, but they've become a great joy.
I think things turned a corner when we spotted the first wee handful of fireflies. Oh, that's nice! I hadn't seen fireflies in any great number since childhood. In fact, I thought of any mass profusion of fireflies as a sweet but bygone thing, never to be seen again. Not so. Night after night, I would see more and more of the little darlings. Now when we walk, we see hundreds, a chaotic swirl of portable neon. It's truly dazzling.
In Arkansas, the fireflies we had were about an inch long and absinthe-green. THAT is emblazoned on my brain as what a firefly ought to look like. However, the ones I see here I quickly noticed were smaller, their lights not so intense, but a more bluish light, if that's possible. (compact fluorescents?) Last week, I got up to go to the bathroom about 3am, house completely dark. Surreal moment, there was a glowing spot on the floor, a perfect little circle. Bleary-eyed, I wondered if I was dreaming, and I picked it up. It was a dead firefly, tits-up but still glowing. Only about a half-inch long.
I'm thinking of this firefly variety as not lesser, but just different. I'm a million miles away from my childhood in every sense, and much of that I'd not have back for love nor money. But there is still breath-taking beauty to enjoy in the world. Here's to the simple, unparalleled glory of the lightning bug. Life is sweet. :)
"For whatsoever from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide unto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost,
that may be found, if sought." — Edmund Spenser