This is a vivid memory I have of when I was about five or six. It was the middle of the night and my mom had slipped into my room. She was probably just checking on me before she went to bed like I often do now with Grace and Anya. We lived in Chesapeake where it is very swampy and heavily wooded (at least where we were). That is an environment that fireflies love. Moist, humid, warm air. She opened my blinds and looked out then came to get me and what we saw that night was so gorgeous I will never forget it. What looked like millions of fireflies were twinkling like the Milky Way Galaxy right in our back yard! This is just a little story I put together from the perspective of a five or six-year-old. Enjoy.
I opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep out. I took a deep breath and yawned. I looked around my room. The walls were light pink with black and white cats stenciled on the wall. In the dark the walls looked dull and the cats were barely visible except for their white paws and chests. Mommy was sitting on the corner of my bed. She stared out my windows that faced the back yard. She smelled like lavender and mint.
“Mommy, what are you doing here?” I asked. It was nice waking up and seeing her rather than the shadows that prowled in my closet. I squinted. My toys were everywhere. I was supposed to clean them up before I went to bed. Barbies, My Little Ponies, Matchbox cars, and hair brushes were strewn into a messy pile near my toy box.
“Look outside, Sweetheart!” Mommy said. I had never seen fireflies before we moved to Virginia. The soft flashes of light illuminated the trees. The moon hid behind the tall maple, oak, sycamore and sumac trees. They cast deep shadows that made them appear taller. Millions of small lights blinked on and off. They were fireflies! I loved these bright little bugs! I missed California, but I could get used to the Virginia Watershed and its fireflies.
“What are they saying Mommy? I asked in wonder.
“The daddy fireflies blink on and off to tell the mommy fireflies ‘I love you.’ She said.
“Why are there so many of them, Mommy?” I asked.
“Fireflies love warm humid areas, Sweetie. And Chesapeake is very warm and very humid!” She said. She was right. We kept our house cool with air conditioning but as she opened my window I felt the heavy, wet air enter into my room. It felt like velvet on my skin. Crickets were chirping and the little frogs that love the muddy pools were singing their songs too. It was not a quiet night.
We sat there for what seemed only seconds when Mommy picked me up and put me back under my blankets. She kissed me on the forehead and stroked my hair.
“Good night love bug.” She said. “This was a very special night and I wanted to you to see these special bugs! You can’t find them in California so it was something I thought you would enjoy.”
“They are so sparkly!” I said. “Will they come back every night?” I asked.
“As long as there are thick forests, warm air, and a moist temperate climate they will.”
“Good.” I said. I want to tell them I love them too.”
After Mommy left I grabbed the flashlight stuffed under my bed and raced to my window. I clicked it on and off and pretended I was a firefly.
“Good night fireflies!” I said. I clicked the button three times then rolled it back under my bed. The smell of lavender and mint lingered on my blankets. I gathered them together and stuffed them close to my face. I felt content. I felt at home. I fell asleep that night dreaming of fools gold and fireflies.