These are lightning bugs. They are a magical element of the South and my favorite thing here (besides Andy, of course). They are very quiet, peaceful little creatures that float through the air, illuminating themselves in a way that’s quite humbling. It’s almost as if they know they have something that other bugs don’t, but they don’t take it for granted. And I love that.
The first time I saw a lightning bug was last June, when I flew to see Andy for the second time after our first meeting. At first, I thought I was seeing things but when I saw the glow for a second time, I reached for Andy’s hand and said, “Wait a second! Wait! What is that?! Do you see that?!” We stopped walking and stared for a moment. I held my breath, feeling like I was waiting for something holy and righteous to appear before me.
“Oh that?” Andy replied. “That’s a lightning bug. You’ve never seen one before?”
“NO! I’ve never seen a lightning bug before! Is that like a firefly?”
“Kinda. But it’s a lightning bug. Because their light flashes like lightning.”
“Gasp! That is the coolest thing I have ever seen!”
And it was! And I thought about every movie I ever saw that took place outside, at dusk, when the air is cool, and a cluster of pulsating light is floating all around – you know the scenes I’m talking about! And now, I live in a place where they are common. Second nature. Normal. But how could I ever get used to them or feel accustomed to seeing them? I’ve only ever dreamt of being in a place where fireflies float all around you, silently singing tranquil hymns, emanating a magic that not everyone will try to understand.
It’s like my strange love for Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” and how it doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing, if that song plays, for approximately two minutes, I am in a world all by myself. And no one else can get there. Because it’s mine.
Soon enough, McKenzie and Morgan (Andy’s cousins) will go out with glass jars to capture lightning bugs. And I’ll go with them and I’ll be six years old again, doing something I couldn’t do when I was younger because it wasn’t there to do. Starry-eyed and mezmerized, I’ll be lost in the wonder of how they do that. How they glow. How they light up. How they got so lucky to have that quality. And as a child again, I’ll wonder if I’ll ever shine as brightly.