Early summer evenings in Louisville, Kentucky can mean wind and thunderstorms or sweltering humidity. But tonight is the perfect night.
As dusk settles over our neighborhood, I walk out onto our front porch and let out a long sigh. With a slow, deep breath I take in the sweet smell of the almost-summer evening. I close my eyes and feel the warm air caress my arms and the back of my neck under my messy bun. The air is warm but dry, none of the usual humidity that plagues many summer nights. A sweet breeze blows and it feels comforting.
I walk across the street, the pavement still warm from this clear, sunny day. Just across the sidewalk are cement stairs that lead down to the track at the School for the Blind. As I approach the stairway, my heart quickens.
The fireflies are here!
I was born and raised in the West Coast, and the only fireflies I had ever seen were the fake ones in the bayou scenes in the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. When we moved to Louisville last July, I was thrilled to see a few fireflies here and there. I’m hoping I’ll see a few tonight.
The cyclone fence along the road and leading to the stairway is lined with towering trees and low lying bushes, which makes a shadowy sanctuary in the fading light. Before I even reach the top of the stairway, there is a flash in the corner of my eye. As I scan the stairway and the cool green grass leading down the hill to the track, a chorus of twinkling yellow lights greets me. In the shadows, down the hill, on the lawn, around the curves of the track, fireflies at every turn. Everywhere I look, beautiful twinkling yellow flashes of light.
Walking my laps, my heart fills with joy at this little blessing. I’m not sure how little flying beatles flashing their hind ends looking for a mate can make me so very happy, but it does.
I’m walking a brisk pace, and every ten to twenty feet a little lightening bug buzzes across my path, as if he’s slowly leading the way. I could reach out and touch him, but I don’t. I stray off my lane to follow him, off the track and onto the grass, slowly floating in the air in front of me, occasionally flashing his tail if I lose him, as if he wants me to follow him. At one point, he seems to almost stop in mid air. He slowly floats near my face, flashes me a short greeting, and flies away.
Thank you, Lord, for this sweet little blessing tonight. It made my heart flicker with a little light of hope and joy.