Firefly come back to me
Make the night as bright as day
I’ll be looking out for you
-A*Teens – Firefly
I remember when we were younger, we used to spend the summer nights catching fireflies, both in New York with our cousins and in Texas with our friends.
We used to go as far back in the yard as we could, to get away from the porch lights to see them better and then we’d bring them to the porch where the adults were watching us and show them and maybe try to stick them in a jar or bucket, like in the movies. If only we could collect enough, we’d have a lantern, like in the movies. So, we’d spend an hour or two hopping around the yard, trying to catch them and sometimes succeeding. Then, at the end of the night, it was time to let the bugs go. We’d dump them into the planter by the pool or the flowerbed by the porch and watch them as they flew away.
One day (probably in early fall in Texas because it’s like a million degrees during the summer), I realized I hadn’t seen the lightning bugs in awhile. We had moved to Lockhart and I was older and there was little time to spend in the heat getting sweaty and dirty. But I looked out the window, and sure enough, dusk came and with it, the fireflies. I watched from my window as they lit up the yard around the house. There were so many, how could I have missed them all these years? And all these memories came rushing back. Of water fights and slipping in the mud we made getting in and out of the pool all day. How could I have not thought about those memories in so long? And then I went back to my life, reading a book or watching a movie.
This week, I was sitting watching a movie and I happened to look outside and I saw them. As bright as ever, lighting up the tree we used to swing from (and break, when we go too big) and the yard we spend many, many days and nights running through, having childhood adventures. And I had the same thought. How can I have gone years without remembering the paint fights and the endless games of tag?
Just like the lightning bugs, those memories were there, like they always have been, just waiting for me to notice them.