Seeing The Light

The sun is casting long shadows on the deck.

It’s close to the longest day of the year. It is taking the maximum time for the sun to set. The day–or maybe the night–teases us with long shadows in the late daylight. You really don’t know who’s in charge.

Even if there wasn’t so much rain in May, this is the most green and most lush time of year. The greens are a selection from a big box of Crayola crayons. Green. Pine green. Yellow green and green yellow. Olive green. Spring green. Asparagus. Fern. Jungle green. Forest green.

Or the greens are mixed from a palette–there’s a squeeze of yellow, blue, red, black and white in tiny cups. Adding the yellow slowly to the blue and stirring, the swirls of bright disappear into a new color. Adding a little black makes a color that is the deepest green grass and vines. A tiny more black, and it’s the green at the base of those long shadows.

Just on the other side of the borderline of sunshine is the yellower green. Because of the contrast, the normally grass green glows more gold. From there the path to dark is not an evened ombré. There are freckles of sun that break through some of the boughs. There are stripes of yellow laid down by posts that make up a fence. There are flickers of light when the wind pushes the sunbrella to the left. And then to the right.

It’s not yet dusk, but it’s working on it.

At first it’s not clear that it’s there. Your head turns, but it might have been just an eye blinking. It seems like it happened again. Eyes are squeezed shut and reopened to clear your vision.

Then, you know. You begin to scour the patchwork of light and dark. You spy the passing gleam of a yellow dot. Gone. You brain foolishly trains your eyes on that spot. And then you see a glow a few feet away. It’s truly summer. The lightening bugs have arrived.

It’s silly that you didn’t see them since now you see three, wait, four, no that’s more like eight, turning their lights on and off as they pass along the hedges just above the ground. The appearance and disappearance of the light swells and ebbs like shallow breathing. It’s a slow build and drop that happens very quickly. How can it be both?

Fireflies are sweet and clumsy as they approach. Simply put your hand in their path and they will alight on fingers. They show no stress as they crawl across your palm, maybe even lighting up. You almost expect to be able to feel heat, but if there is any reaction, it’s imperceptible. Then the bug reaches the end of your hand and takes off, providing a wink from it’s abdomen.

You follow the path you think it’s on and see one more wink. You lose it as it flies on it’s unknowable path, and joins the dozens of other bulbs randomly blinking on and off as the sun finally sets and it’s now, really dusk and then night.

They have phosphorescence. They create their light from within. Be a firefly.


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