Posted tagged ‘fireflies’

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

April 28, 2016

Though it is still chilly, I think spring has started to take hold. When I went to get the papers, I stayed outside a while to listen to the birds. Their songs filled the air from everywhere.

Gracie has been outside most of the morning. She lies in the sun on the deck until her fur is hot to the touch, and she has started panting from the heat. She comes inside, waits for a small treat then goes into her crate for a bit of a nap. She and I are going to the dump later.

Yesterday was a busy day for me mostly picking up Coke cans. I was in the cellar looking for a wooden box when I knocked the bags of cans over. The open bag fell and cans went everywhere. I picked them up and put them back into the bag only to have them fall one more time. I didn’t complain because in picking up the cans I found an old wooden box once used for storing cranberries. It was exactly what I was looking for. It is now in the kitchen and already filled.

My daytimes are people-less and quiet. Dogs, including Gracie, bark and they and the birds make the only sounds. I do hear cars going down the other street but not so many during working hours. Winter is the quietest season but this, now, the in-between season, is almost as quiet, but all that will change too enough. In summer the noise will seem endless, but now it is only in the afternoons when the kids get home from school. On good days like today, they play in the street, and they are not quiet. They don’t speak in normal tones. Everything has to be yelled from one kid to another. I don’t know if yesterday was bike or scooter day. I just know it was loud.

When I was growing up, my neighborhood was filled with kids. The younger ones stayed around the backyards under the watchful eyes of mothers looking out kitchen windows. We older kids roamed sometimes on our bikes and sometimes on foot. We made forts in the woods and sustained ourselves with blueberries picked from the bushes on the sunny side of the path in those woods.

The path was brown grass in-between two parts of the woods. At one end of the path was the water tower. The other end was the field below my house. That’s where we used to catch grasshoppers and fireflies and where we’d play tag or red rover. I can still see in my mind’s eye the grasshoppers jumping up in front of us as we ran through the field. I remember the sounds they made.

I think I grew up in the best of all places at the best of all times.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

March 11, 2016

When I was a kid, I believed in magic and magical creatures. I also knew Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny were real. That a bunny brought eggs didn’t seem at all strange. I never wondered how the Tooth Fairy carried all those coins and what she did with the teeth. I figured Santa stashed piles of toys all over so he could replenish his supply. A sleigh with eight tiny reindeer flying in the heavens made perfect sense. How else would Santa get around? I knew trolls needed to be duped or as a last resort avoided. The Three Billy Goats Gruff taught me that. Witches ate little children. I really didn’t believe the princess felt that pea under all those the mattresses. I loved the story Chicken Little. The rhythmic names of all the animals have stayed with me all these years. Henny Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey and the villain of the piece, Foxy Loxy. That the fox ate all of the animals never bothered me. It was silly Henny Penny who did, “The sky is falling!” My mother read Chicken Little to me just about every night.

I don’t know when skepticism crept in followed by disbelief, when I knew Santa Claus and the rest weren’t real. I wasn’t devastated with the revelation. I had two little sisters, and I never told them. I didn’t want to spoil the joy and the magic.

Even now I still cling to magic. I’m awed by fireflies. I watch them blinking and flitting across the backyard. When the first star appears, the nursery rhyme immediately comes to mind, and I make my wish, “Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight.” I see creatures in clouds and the smile on the face of the man in the moon.

I don’t have to see something to know it’s there. I just have to keep believing. I figure a life without magic is dull indeed.

“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.”

July 20, 2015

The rain never materialized. It will be sunny all week and today will hit 85˚. My AC has been cranking since yesterday morning, and the house is delightfully cool. I have errands today so I will appreciate it even more when I get home.

I have always believed in magic, not the rabbit in the hat magic but everyday magic like when you wish on the first star: I wish I may I wish I might have this wish come true tonight. I have never made outlandish wishes figuring the simpler the wish the more likely it might come true. At Christmas when I was young I made all sorts of wishes and most of those came true.

I have proof that magic abounds and wishes do come true. Once I was walking home from my aunt’s house. The route was through the brush beside a metal fence which joined another fence, a shorter fence. It was there I usually scaled the two fences to get to my street. I stopped to rest just before scaling. I mused while sitting and wished I had money enough for a new book. I swear I looked down and found a 50 cent piece, just enough for a new book. That had to be magic. I wasn’t on a path. I was walking in piles of dead leaves captured against the fence.

But I’ve always known, fifty cents or no fifty cents, that we live in a world filled with magic. Fireflies dot the darkness with light. The sun rises and sets in a brilliance of colors. Rainbows announce the end of the storm and the whereabouts of the pot of gold if you’re especially lucky. I sit outside in the wee hours to watch the meteor showers in August. I clap and say things like wow and amazing as those beautiful streaks of light cross the dark sky. I love shadows and how scary and tall they can look. That flowers bloom year after year can be nothing short of magic. I know science explains most things because some people need answers. As for me, I’ve known the answer all my life-it’s magic, pure and simple magic.

“The fireflies o’er the meadow In pulses come and go.”

August 1, 2014

Summer mornings are lovely. I sat outside today with my papers and coffee. Gracie was sleeping on the deck, birds were flying back and forth to the feeders, leaves were being gently blown by the breeze and the sun was glinting in and out of the branches of the trees beside me. I didn’t hear a single voice. I could have been the only person left in the world.

When I was around ten, I used to dive off the high board in the pool. I’d stand to the side of the board, aim my hands and dive. I’d go deep. One time I hit the bottom of the pool and slammed my mouth on the concrete, split my lip and broke a piece off my front tooth. I got a ride home that day from one of the life guards. I think I looked worst than I felt. My lip was all swollen and there were tooth marks on my bottom lip. It was a long time before I dared to dive off that board again.

I love the ocean especially at its fiercest during a storm when the waves are white caps crashing against the shore. I can feel the energy of the water and the wind blowing and whipping the sand. The gulls circle and make a raucous noise. I walk on the hard-packed sand close to the water. I walk with the wind.

Fireflies light up my backyard. When I was really little, I thought they were garden fairies, cousins to Tinker Bell. I’d watch them flit and blink between the trees and branches. They were magic. When I got older, I caught some in a jar with a lid that had holes so they could breathe. I never kept them: I just watched them for a while. Even though I know why they blink, I still think they have a bit of magic about them.

My grand-nephew Jack was born this morning. He weighs seven pounds and is 19 and 1/2 inches long. I got a short video and can attest to the power of his lungs. Both mother and baby are fine.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

April 8, 2014

The morning has already been a full one. I think I’m ready to join Gracie in a morning nap. I had my library board meeting, stops at the pharmacy, Stop and Shop and Ring Brothers, my favorite store for almost anything. I’m shortly going to get into my cozies and while away the day. Right now it’s pouring. It rained during the night, stopped so I could do my errands then started again when I got home. I love rainy days like this one. The house is dark except for the light in this room, my comfort, warm and cozy, a refuge from the rain.

My yard is spring ready. My landscaper and two of his workmen raked the lawn, edged and cleaned the flower beds, blew the debris from my deck and cleared the backyard of all its fallen branches. The lawn also got fertilized. Sebastian, my neighbor and landscaper, wanted it done so the rain would soak the fertilizer into the grass. Once the garden is cleared, I get itching to flower shop, but I know it is way too early. I’ll just have to buy a few pansies for pots on the front steps to hold me in the meanwhile.

My flamingo and my Travelocity gnome winter here in the house. All summer they stay on the deck and enjoy the sunshine. The flamingo dresses for every occasion. Right now he is wearing rabbit ears and a jaunty jacket. The gnome has no wardrobe but is content in his blue coat and conical red hat.

I used to think fireflies were fairies, relatives of Tinker Bell. At night there were so many in the field below my house they seemed to lift the darkness. We’d run and catch them in jars but keep them only a while. They were always one of the best parts of a warm summer night.

Spring and summer are wondrous seasons for me. The world is fresh and new in spring and every flower is welcomed after the drabness of winter. Summer is gardens bursting with color and it is late nights on the deck. I sit in the darkness and watch the fireflies flitting in my backyard among the pine trees, and I still point and yell and watch until they disappear into the next yard.

“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.”

March 14, 2013

Yesterday was a delight. Though it was a bit chilly, the sun shined all day. I left my self-imposed hibernation and went outside to do some yard work and Gracie came with me. When I’d finished, I stood on the deck for a while and watched Gracie try to figure out how to carry a slightly deflated basketball in her mouth. She managed and ran around the yard in triumph. I did a laundry, changed my bed and the cat litter, filled the feeders and went on an errand. It was an industrious day all brought about because of the sun. It was like I had my battery recharged. Today is cloudy.

The mouse trap sat in the cellar for over a week, and I only caught two. It is now on the kitchen floor, and I haven’t caught any. Once there were mice. I cleaned out a kitchen drawer and found cloth and cardboard had been gnawed into small pieces, and the mice had left their familiar droppings. I threw stuff away, put most in the dishwasher and hand-washed other stuff. When I took out the drawer, I found piles of chewed paper and more droppings underneath it. With a vengeance, I scrubbed the drawer and under the drawer, and now that everything is clean, I keep checking both drawers, but there are no more tell-tale signs of current mice in residence. I’ll leave the trap for a few more days, but I’m guessing it was Maddie who rid this floor of rodents.

I never saw wild life when I was a kid. I don’t even remember seeing a skunk. I saw lots of fireflies, grasshoppers, tadpoles, frogs and a few snakes, but that was it. The only wildlife I saw was in the zoo. It never occurred to me I was missing anything. I got to see the cows at the farm and the horse in the pasture not far from my house, and that was enough. Here on the Cape I have seen   coyotes, foxes, deer, possums, raccoons and skunks. The latest are the wild turkeys. They are numerous and don’t mind strolling down the street as if in a parade. I love it when I see any of these animals. It means the Cape still has space for both of us.

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

January 18, 2013

Today is winter. Though the sky is steely blue and the sun is shiny, it’s cold, and we have snow. I’m guessing about 2 inches fell during the night, not enough for plows or even shovels but any snow is enough. From here inside my warm house, the snow is pretty and it glistens in the sun, but even Gracie was reluctant to go out when we first woke up. I had to trudge across the snowy lawn to get the newspapers, and when I did, I saw paw prints in the snow. I’m guessing Cody came to visit hoping Gracie was awake. She wasn’t and neither was I.

The mice count is now 15. Only a single tiny beast found its way into a trap yesterday. Either peanut butter is less desirable than it had been or the number of mice has dwindled. I know there are some on this floor so they are also my targets. I’ve already put down a couple of my trusty traps but no takers as yet. Only three more mice are needed to break my decades old record.

I have never been the type afraid of bugs or snakes or mice. Garter snakes were common when I was a kid. One of us would see a snake, announce its presence and all of us would run to watch. The bravest among us would pick it up and hold it for a while. In the field below our house, we used to run through the tall grass and spook the grasshoppers so they’d hop into the air and then we’d catch them with our bare hands. We caught fireflies in jars but we always released them. Fireflies were special. In the swamp, we’d use jars to scoop up tadpoles and our hands to grab the frogs. Dirt and grime were never a problem.

In Ghana I saw poisonous snakes: one was in the bushes outside my classroom block. My students killed it by pelting rocks at it. Lizards were everywhere, including my house. In training, on our first day, I saw lizards scurrying across the concrete walks as I went to breakfast. I’ll never forget that morning. It was my first I’m really in Africa moment.

I have no plans for today, no errands and no chores. It’s a perfect sloth day. It’s a stay in my cozies, read a bit and take a nap day.

The fireflies o’er the meadow In pulses come and go.”

July 14, 2012

A dead mouse was on the floor in the hall today. I think Maddie did the honors. I tossed it outside. Dead mice don’t bother me. It’s the half-alive ones I hate.

The day has humidity almost thick enough to see. The sky is cloudy. Nothing is moving. Even sounds seem muted. My house is dark. I needed a light on to read the papers, but once I finished, I turned it off. A dark house feels cooler or at least gives the illusion of being cooler. I suspect the AC will get a work-out a bit later.

Gracie woke me up at five by ringing her bells to go out. I went downstairs and opened the door then went back to bed. I didn’t go to sleep as I was waiting for Gracie to come back inside. I know she’d can’t get out of the yard, but I still worry. Finally, after what seemed like a long time, I went downstairs and onto the deck to call her. She didn’t come, and I couldn’t hear her. I called a couple of more times, and then I heard her collar way in the back of the yard. The shadows had hidden her. I called again and offered a treat. She came running. We both went back to sleep.

It’s deck movie night. We’ll have a couple of appetizers and then chicken and a salad for dinner. I haven’t figured out dessert yet, but I do know I’m buying malted milk balls. They all disappeared last week. We’re seeing Night of the Hunter this week.

We never had a Saturday matinée in the summer. That was winter entertainment. The summer was spent outside even when it rained. The idea of staying inside the house never occurred to us. Every summer day meant fun and adventure and playing games like hide and seek, statues or red rover. Our grassy backyard with the big hill was usually filled with kids. It was always noisy in the summer. Kids were laughing and shouting at one another, and mothers were calling out from the screened doors announcing lunch or dinner or time to come inside. Sometimes we’d get to eat lunch outside. It was always a sandwich. Dinner was at the kitchen table. Even if the meat was barbecued, we’d eat inside. Every summer day bedtime came all too soon, once the day had given way to night.

I think my favorite time of day back then was when the fireflies came out. They’d flit all over the backyards and the fields. I’d follow one with my eyes until I’d lose it among all the others. It was always amazing.

I still love fireflies, and I still watch one until it disappears. It is still amazing.

“How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.”

May 14, 2010

Today is cloudy and damp and dark. The sky is whitish gray. It’s a drab day.

When I was a kid, everything was a toy. A flat rock was skimmed across the surface of the pond in a contest of sorts. Four was usually the winner. Big rocks were balancing boards, and we’d stand with our feet spaced and our arms straight out as we tilted faster and faster. Jumping from one huge rock to the other was a game at the beach leading to the end of the jetty where the ocean crashed.

Sticks came in all useful shapes and sizes. Some were swords, and we’d be Robin Hood and the Sheriff or any good guy and bad guy. We’d make swords sounds when the blades crashed against each other. A broken sword was total defeat. Other times, sticks were bats hitting at rocks while one of us called balls and strikes. Another stick was good at the swamp for dragging stuff out of the water. It had to be short, thick and strong. The one to use walking in the woods had to be tall and straight.

Bugs were the best fun. Catching grasshoppers from the field below my house was where I’d spend many summer hours. It was a wild field and only got rain water so its tall grass turned brown early, by mid-summer. The grass was alive with grasshoppers. I’d run, scaring them to jump, cup my hands and try to catch one in the air. When I did, I’d hold it in my hands and peek through to watch. Later, I’d let it go. Grasshoppers always left suspicious brown spots on my hands. Fireflies were a summer wonder. Their lights blinked all across the field. I’d use a jar with air holes poked in the top and trap one then I’d watch it through the sides of the jar as it miraculously lit a small piece of the darkness. I’d keep it only a while then I’d let my firefly go. I’d follow it with my eyes until I’d lost it in the field of fireflies.

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