I think I’m still in a bit of shock about my living here. See, I have it in my head that when most people move a distance of nearly 3,000 miles there’s time to let it register, toss it around on one’s tongue for a bit, see how it sounds spoken.
We didn’t have that time. I am only now realizing that we found out we were moving and had three weeks from that day to get everything taken care of. Looking back, that’s insane.
Lately, I have really been missing my east coast home. I think I was running so fast trying to get settled that I forgot where it was I was settling and who with. And I may have avoided thinking about who and where I was leaving behind—a sort of unintentional mindshock in order to make things easier.
The other day, Toby and I headed over the Cathy and Mike’s place for a Memorial Day cookout. We cooked sausages, veggie burgers, not dogs, corn on the cob, veggies of all shapes and sizes, homemade and amazing guacamole (thanks, Mike). We had a feast. The eats were incredible. The conversation was even better. We talked about computers and wine. We discussed babies and having them. We talked about doctors and yoga classes, books, the places we come from and how we all met. Both of these people are wonderful, new additions to my life. And both of them moved here from DC not one year ago. But we didn’t know them when we were there.
After Mike opened a bottle of wine and I had had a few glasses, I started with my questions. I asked them both what they missed the most about DC and what the liked best about living out here.
“Fireflies.” Cathy answered.
When I was a kid, I spent many evenings collecting lightning bugs in the back yard. There were hundreds of them, at least in my memory. They were so thick, I didn’t even crave a night-light. They were everywhere. You could cup your hands, wave them before your head, and come back around with a plethora. It was nights like those, blinky hot summer nights spent collecting bug lights in Pennsyltuckey, where one contemplates God. After all, why would science create a bug who blinks?
Two years ago Toby and I were in a rental car headed west from New York City. We were headed to Pennsylvania to visit the folks for the 4th of July. You see Bob, he likes his 4th of July tailgating extravaganza. He plans on it days in advance. He gets geared up, probably sharpens his grill paraphernalia, maybe polishes them as well. It’s a big deal. And I love it. So, Toby and I were driving there to join them. It was a humid, July evening. It was dark. We were on route 322.
On 322 that night there were so many lightning bugs, I started to wonder if they were bringing us an early dawn. It was an amazing site to see. Up until that point, I started to believe that I had enhanced my memories of fireflies. (I am prone to do that when it comes to a history. Elaborate).
As we drove along this twisty-turny, Pennsylvania road, weaving in and out of 18-wheelers in search of more darkness to see more of this little world, I was introduced to one of life’s smiles. There’s something sad and wonderful about growing older, remembering your youth, and driving back to visit the people who gave you the opportunity to see a firefly.
(She’d be perfectly dressed if she had some fireflies).