Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Nature's Nightlights

A couple of years ago, on a warm early summer evening, I looked outside to see little flickering lights in the backyard. Fireflies had returned once again! It was after bedtime for the kids, but not by much, and I knew that Thomas was still upstairs awake in his bed. I went up to his room, entered the door, and found him playing in his bed. I told him that I needed his help with something downstairs, and to come down with me right away. He, of course, was puzzled. "What could Mommy possibly want me to help her with right now?"

Once downstairs, I took him outside. Puzzled beyond believe, he followed me. "Mommy! Why are we outside? It's DARK out here!" I'm pretty sure he thought I was leading him outside to clean up toys left in the yard. Instead, I produced a jar, and told him, in no uncertain terms, that I did, in fact, need his help: Catching fireflies.

His face lit up almost as much as the little lanterns flying around the backyard. We ran around catching the little neon bugs for a good half hour before I shooed him back to bed again. I loved that night. It reminded me what being a kid is about, and how we, as parents, get to rediscover wonders of the world through the eyes of our children. Have you ever stopped to look at cracks in the sidewalk? Or looked at the many colors and fossils in rocks? What about the many creatures you can find living in streams? I'm sure you've done all of these things... but have you done them as an ADULT, with a child by your side? It changes your perspective. Catching fireflies with Thomas that night took me back to my childhood and the countless hours I spent with my brother catching fireflies.

Some things never change, but sometimes, they get better with age.

Carolyn Hall

Little lamps of the dusk
You fly low and gold
When the summer evening
Starts to unfold.
So that all the insects,
Now, before you pass,
Will have light to see by,
Undressing in the grass.

But when the night has flowered,
Little lamps agleam,
You fly over treetops
Following a dream.
Men wonder from their windows
That a firefly goes so far-
They do not know your longing
To be a shooting star.


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