Fireflies and Time
My son turned twenty today. He wanted a T-bone off the grill for dinner. We ate in the dining room all official like. I snuck out in the twilight (*) to the back of the yard and sitting on a swing I lit a cigar. This is a moment. My youngest … two decades … the shortness of the time we are given.
The dark rolled in as I swayed back and forth lost in memories of a young boy as the fire flies woke. I was drawn back to the present by them, as they came up in waves this night, lights flashing in sheets of fire, orchestrated … GOD’s fire works, prettier than any fourth this month could hold. “Ataya! Come quick.” I said in a muted shout, afraid that I would somehow scare them off. Out she runs, bare feet and night shirt blond hair streaming behind her. She has spent most of this summer catching lightning bugs in a jar, holes in lid and grass, only to set them free before bed. She has never seen anything like this before, and truth be told, neither have I.
She stands by the wooden swing set, mouth open, eyes wide … and starts to dance. Her four year old arms extended, head back, she twirls slowly as the waves of soft blinking lights engulf her. Left hand over her head turned right and down, then both clasping above she pirouettes. With straight legs she skips twice, twirls once more before a curtsy to the pixies that accompanied her tonight. As she turns to leave, one lights on her out stretched hand. As she holds it up to her wondering and innocent eyes, it flies off. “They go so quick!” she whispers, then runs off to the back door and bed. Eyes welling, I look up to the stars over head and say with a low scratchy voice, “Yea Tay … they do … they surely do.”
* Nora Jones, Seven Years