Firefly Moments

The first time I saw fireflies

I was with my brother in Illinois waiting for fireworks

It was dusk, and we were sitting in lawn chairs we carried from the truck to the open field

We sat back and gazed at the sky that was a lovely lavender-grey as the sun faded.


Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a twinkle

I blinked, then there were two, three, and exponentially what seemed

Like hundreds of twinkling fairy light

I have always believed in fairies, wishes upon stars

And the full Moon’s silvery light that sends a quickening through my belly

Surely, these living twinkle stars carry my hopes and dreams

Offered to the endless Universe.


I wonder about the two kimono-clad girls with nets against the black sky

Who jump and laugh,

Reaching high as they can to catch stars, they thought

Really though, it wasn’t stars but the flashing luminescence of bugs

Signaling for their mates before their love light cooled.


They gingerly place the light-bearers in each glass jar

Careful not to cut their tiny fingers on the jagged air-holes in the lid

They know that precious air is needed for life to survive,

The girls keep the jars close to their pillows to illuminate their dark dreams

And to find the path home

In the early morning, only a feeble light comes from the last firefly

Who wonders where his dreams of sweet love went.


In the cold morning air, the two girls cradle their jars empty of starlight

Filled with bugs collapsed, heaped upon each other on the jar’s bottom,

In single file

Step after careful step

They carry the dark jars to the yard behind their house

Bent in concentration, they lay the jars on the soft earth

While they use their hands to scoop out six inches of rich loam

And place the dark jars to rest under the growing light.


No words were spoken, there was no need for that

The two girls never used their nets to catch the light-bearers again

Still clad in their kimonos, but without high jumps and laughter

They admire the twinkling each season

With a sigh of sadness.


There is no wind sighing on summer nights in the Midwest

The nights are humid, only made bearable by the brief presence of fireflies

When care-worn faces gaze at the flickering glow

When burdens are easily forgotten, replaced by child-like wonder

Even if it is for a moment’s return to where wishes and dreams are possible.


My brother has long since moved to places far West of these luminaries,

So the image and wonder is drawn from my memory

Where the joy of discovery is still fresh

Reminding me there is real magic in this world

Easily felt on cool nights of the Full Moon

Or the just rising sun in the East

This magic speaks to the star-dust within us

A reminder that magic is a state of being

To be shared without fear or limitations.

Talk story

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