A Summer Night
By gina below
The heat lessened as the sun inched lower behind the trees and the dusky tendrils of evening teased the shadows of the coming southern night. Our anticipation was barely contained in our young minds as we waited, not so patiently for the darkness. We were seasoned comrades, there was not much we had not been through together, and tonight we would brave the feared dark. The evening grew blessedly cooler as we eagerly waited for our adventure to begin and we laughed at our cleverness. The music of the night crickets and the bullfrogs mingled with our voices and the creak of the garden swing and a lone whippoorwill called lonely from across the pasture. The scent of freshly cut grass blended with the perfume of our Mothers flowers to make a heady fragrance as the evening breeze rustled the mimosa leaves above us.
All the preparations had been made, everything was planned, and all that was left was the waiting. We had snitched some of our Mothers best mayonnaise jars with lids from the basement where she had put them for safekeeping. A confiscated butter knife and a large rock was all it had taken to render the necessary breathing holes and now we watched the shadows for them to come. Our excited chatter turned to hushed whispers as the gloom thickened and we began to doubt our courage. I began to falter as I felt the fear of the unknown tickle up the back of my legs and I bowed my head to hide my eyes from the shadows we had so eagerly searched just moments before. As if an answer to a prayer the porch light flicked on, grounding me, and it gave me the strength to push my fear back down.
And then they were there, blinking and floating in the murkiness, beckoning us as they slipped in and out of the apple tree leaves. A collective sigh escaped from us as we sat mesmerized by their light, the trees now heavy with the dance of the fireflies. Our original plan momentarily forgotten in the serenity of the vision before us, we found we could not move. But slowly we stood, drawn to the beauty of it, we abandoned our jars meant to capture them and joined them in their dance, weaving in and out of the trees. Thrilled that we had been invited along, certain that no one had ever been this lucky, that we were somehow special. Dancing and laughing until our sides hurt and our breath came in choppy gasp and we had to sit on the dew-dampened grass to collect ourselves, just outside the ring of light from the porch.
We continued to watch them from the safety of our small group and few words were spoken as we felt the magic slowly fade to a whisper. The chill from the damp grass began to take its toll, but we could not bring ourselves to leave just yet as the hum of it still lingered. We felt her before we heard her and we looked up into her smiling face as she stood behind us at the edge of the light. “It’s getting late” she said softly as if not wanting to break the spell and we all nodded in unison and began to stand. We had not realized how weary we were, as we took steps toward the porch. “Oh, wait,” I said realizing that we had left her jars. “You can get them in the morning,” she said knowingly and she took my hand as we walked toward the light, leaving the fireflies to their beautiful dance.