When we left, Keely rolled down her windows so the cooling-down air could touch our skin, and we sang along with the song on the radio, one I barely know the words to. We pulled out of the driveway, onto the road, and rolled forward, then...stopped. "Holy shit!" exclaimed my driver.
"Eh?" said I, intelligently.
"I just saw a firefly! In that yard right there!"
I had seen a flash of light across the street when we stepped onto the porch, but I didn't think we had fireflies here, and told her so.
"Oh, I knew we did. I've just never seen one before."
So on the drive back home, we kept our eyes peeled for the brief flashes of light, the stars on the pavement, and I thought about the last time I saw a firefly.
We don't have them in Alaska, but I have been other places. One summer, we traveled far in our motorhome, across the United States. We visited a family my parents knew, maybe in Oklahoma or Arkansas or someplace else entirely, because I have a terrible memory. I do remember sitting outside with my father and the guy who owned the farm, and it was dusk, and I could see fireflies in the yard. I was enthralled.
The man who owned the farm caught one for me, and held it up so I could see. I asked what made it glow...and the man crushed the firefly between his fingers, and wiped his fingers on his shirt, to show me how the guts made his shirt glow.
Some things...are just not poetic. No matter how much you wish they could be.
I didn't know we had fireflies here, but now I do, and perhaps someday soon I shall pull Keely out the door with me, to stand in the middle of the field and pretend we're floating high above the earth, among the stars.