"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Lost Art of Catching Fireflies

Summer....the stuff kids dream of.   Do you remember the day after school ended and the prospect of no school for three months was so sweet you had to almost pinch yourself that first morning?  Days stretched out before us with no end in sight, at least for the immediate future. Days of no homework, no getting up early - unless you wanted to.  No tests, no grades, no teachers.  The responsibilites of school slid off our shoulders like rain down an umbrella. Summer days filled with sun and playing outdoors all day.  Popsicles and swimming pools, sprinklers and baseball, bikes and swings, camping and picnics, July Fourth and fireworks, watermelons and ice cream, reading under a shade tree, lunches of bologna sandwiches, drinking from the hose pipe to cool off.
And then there were the summer nights when the heat from the day began to melt away and colors ran together to form a velvety black mixed with dark greens and blues. Was there anything more fun than a game of hide and seek at night or sitting under the stars taking in the vast Universe above?
There are some things that are timeless, that kids just normally instinctively know.  Or so I thought.  Early last summer,  Ed and I were sitting on our backyard patio with 2 of the Fab 5, as well as their mom, just as twilight began to set in.  It was at that moment I saw it....the magic of the first flicker of a firefly. With that flash summer had come!  As I pointed out the blinking lights to the grandchildren, I was amazed to discover that they had never caught a lightening bug, put it in a jar and watched its flashing signal.
I went inside, coming back with 2 canning jars.  They watched as I jabbed holes in the lids so the fireflies could breathe.  And off we went......
Oh, the art of catching fireflies!  Look for the flash, follow the path, open the lid, get the fireflly into the jar and quickly close the lid.  Neither would catch the bugs with their hands, but very quickly found their method.  If you want to believe in innocence, watch a child's face as they discover the magic of a summer evening and the hypnotic rhythm of a firefly's torch. And so they ran around our backyard catching some, missing some, but entranced at this ancient childhood ritual.
Now it is summer once again and the fireflies have returned. And so just last week, we found new jars to use, punched the air holes in the lids and off the 2 of them went to the edge of the woods on a summer evening, chasing and catching those elusive flickers of light.  Only this year, they are brave enough to catch with their bare hands and laugh as the fireflies try to climb out of loosely formed fists.  They have perfected the hunt and capture, placing them in the jars just so. 
But most of all, the two Grands have mastered one of the traditions of childhood summer, the lost art of catching fireflies. Are there "lost arts" from your summer days of long ago that you can share? Don't let them get lost in "the world of grown-up"! Please share with us in the comments below.  And don't forget to recapture your lost wonders of summer, whatever they may be!

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