11.23.15 La Nazarena, Capilla del Senor, Argentina
At night, the fireflies fill the empty, dark spaces of the fields in a thousand, twinkling lights of gold. Like stars in the heaven, they create their own dancing constellations.
Bichitos de luz. Little bugs of Light.
I stop and stare at the magic of the night with no small amount of awe.
I remember a child in Connecticut, who jumped and ran around her dogwood tree and in the neighborhood cul-de-sac, catching lightning bugs, laughing.
Eyes pierced the darkness and strained for the next bug butt to light up. Aha!
And off she went.
My big sister taught me how to catch and hold the lighting bugs in my small, cupped hands so as not to squish them.
Then, how to slowly open a small slit between my fingers and peer in to catch them winking at me.
Don’t let it escape! ooooo!
Whoever says magic doesn’t exist, forgets what it is like to peer into their child hands and discover they caught a bit of flying light.
If my memory serves correctly, which I doubt it does, I was rather adept at catching fireflies.
I doubt if I am so nimble now. Perhaps, I was just more persistent and enamored with the novelty of catching the bugs then.
I consider running after one, but I don’t think my knees enjoy starting and stopping so quickly in the way necessary to catch the prize.
So, I keep watching. I am dazzled. That remains.
How close we always are to the child that we were.
When I was a child, I did not stop my play to think I should remember the fun I was having because I might want to look back fondly on it later.
I just had fun, a lot of fun. I played with no care that one day I might not play.
Too many times now, I stop to think I should be nostalgic for the present moment. Something may seem especially beautiful and poetic and I do not want to forget it, yet…well, the thought takes me away from enjoying the moment.
I worry now that I may forget, and in the worrying, of course I do.
My child self never worried, and while some things are forgotten, the important things are not.
These worried thoughts to remember to remember halt my urge to run toward the flying lights.
And instead, encourages sentiment and a consideration for how to write about it later.
I would have preferred to run.
Sometimes freedom is literal and tangible.
Freedom means not being shackled or restrained against one’s will.
Freedom is the dignity to work and live as one chooses.
Sometimes freedom is an unseen reality.
Freedom is cutting ties to our ego and our conscious self.
A child is so wonderfully un-self-conscious.
We dread the teen years when the child becomes gloriously self-conscious for the first time.
Freedom is a child running after a firefly unworried about how silly she looks, or worrying that she might twist an ankle or a knee (those are welcomed rites of passage), or concerned whether she will be successful in her chase or not.
The laughing comes in the chase.
The wonder comes in the surprise of finding your hands filled with light.
Instead of feeling sad that this child is far from me now, I choose to smile.
A secret smile that knows, perhaps, she has never been closer.
And if time doesn’t really exist, she is dreaming about me, her beautiful, bold future self, in the same moment I am dreaming of her, my innocent, pure, past self.
I send her a wish and a prayer.
How differently we might live if we believed we are our own guardian angels.
How much more tender and kind we would treat ourselves and how much more we would believe in ourselves.
I don’t know how the heart works exactly.
How mine can thrill with joy at the site of lightning bugs in a field and that I can clap my hands together in unexpected delight at a starry dance I have not seen in many years.
But I know this. I still love fireflies so much (so much), and maybe only because she did.
I love that she loved them.
I honor the child who could love without reason or expectation.
She may be everything I have ever aspired to be.
Maybe I don’t exactly aspire to be an orphaned pirate child with a jar full of lightning bug fairies in a ship made of Dogwood off seeking her fortune, but…
The imagination, the raw joy, the legs that respond to the heart and run, run, run after the things that delight and surprise…yeah.
Those things I still believe in.
And maybe, as I stand or run, laughing, through this life, with my hands held open toward the sky, I will be delighted to find them always filled with Light.