Dash and I just had a visit from the fairies–fireflies flashing in the shrubbery behind our evening rental. She’d never seen them, and I hadn’t seen them since I was a kid. It was a special gift on this special trip. Something I didn’t know I’d wanted.
Fireflies were magic we could, sometimes, if we were lucky, catch, watching them flash in the cupped cave of our hands. Summers and summer vacations were also magic, sometimes, when we were kids. Just the word “vacation” was special.
Yet I haven’t had a “vacation” in years. I’ve been on trips to other countries, of course, but I never thought of them as vacations. They’re journeys, almost as exhausting as the work or every day life they are meant to provide respite from.
Vacations, on the other hand, are filled with the days you sit by a lake or river and empty your mind of everything while your hook causes amusement in the fish below the waterline. Or even sit in your own back yard and read a book while hotdogs cook on the grill and while maybe someone more energetic bats a volleyball over a crooked net. Or you climb a large boulder surrounded by the scent of hot pine resin and feel you’re seeing the world in a way no one ever has before. Or walk down an empty country road with the heat a physical weight on your shoulders and the smell of new leaves and growth filling the air.
Or sit in the dusk and watch fireflies. Especially if you do it with a friend who has never seen them before.
Vacations are slow. There is time to talk. To think. To savor. To play. To make memories not just take pictures.
We have run into a heat wave that we didn’t expect. It is forcing us to eliminate things like visits to Civil War battlefields that we’d planned simply because we were here and we “should” see them. It’s forcing us to slow down, take time. Watch fireflies rather than fall into bed exhausted.
P.S. As vacations–and summer–are the time to read, this is a reminder to newsletter subscribers that now Chapter 12 of The Illinois Caper is available at The Route 66 Steal. Not a newsletter subscriber, but would like to read the first book in my new series? Simply fill out the pop up form that slides in from the right and you’ll receive a password when you subscription is confirmed. You can always unsubscribe.
CindyJune 14, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Hooray for fireflies. Do you remember Elizabeth talking about an evening drive in Texas where they were so thick, you could barely see? We used to chase around at my grandparents’ house in Nebraska and catch them in our hands.
Sharon ThompsonJune 14, 2022 at 3:52 pm
I remember clouds of them, too, Cindy. There were, sadly, very few making an appearance last night. But still, they were magic. Liz
Lori Murphy ColeJune 14, 2022 at 5:22 pm
Lovely, Sharon. I, too, remember fireflies in Virginia visiting relatives the summer of ‘63. They were special then and still special. 💕
Gary C GuglerJune 15, 2022 at 6:15 am
We’ve lived in so many parts of the country that we call them either fireflies or lightening bugs. Either name, we love them too and they are a treat to see!
Fireflies and lightning bugs are the same animal—they just have a different name depending on where you live. If you’re an English-speaker who says either “lightning bug” or “firefly”, you’re very likely North American. Broadly speaking, people who live in the American south and midwest say “lightning bugs,” and people who live in the northeast and the west say “fireflies.”