I get home, after a meeting and then ice cream with a friend, rushing at this late hour dusk to do the last of the livestock tending. Each evening, we walk the farm, securing hatches to all of the chicken coops, the turkey pen, the barn, ushering in our critters who plead like children for just one more drink of water, one more snack, one more romp around the field.
I slide off my sandals, and into my boots, weather worn leather that slouch in all the right places and start down the quickly darkening path. And though Kim is off farm for the night, I'm certainly not alone. The sky is erupting from every angle with the quick flashes of light. It's astounding, unlike any other place I've ever lived. We must be a central point where all fireflies come to meet, zooming in from all directions to discuss the days events and light the way for weary farmers. Everywhere I step the night is alive, and the quite glow of the emerging stars even pales in comparison to the light show of these tiny bugs. Isn't in incredible that a swarm of insects can surpass the beauty of the entire universe of stars.
As I'm walking, one laser technician dips low near my nose, and suddenly I'm 6- holding a country crock container with holes popped in the top. I'm racing across my parents back yard, in mud smeared clothes and flip flops hopped up on sugar water. I'm sun burnt and giddy with the late hour. I'm breathless chasing fireflies. When my container is finally full, I open it back up and watch as the relieved flies zoom away from me, resting only moments before starting again.
Then suddenly, I'm 16 and parked in my first car, with a teenage love, whispering secrets and watching the fireflies dance across a lake. I'm nervous, and shy, and putting on a bravado to cover my shaking hands. I grip the steering wheel and stare outside in the gaps of conversation. I can feel my jittery laughter bubbling to the surface of the quiet. The fireflies seem to be teasing and soothing all at once, winking at my insecurities without judgement.
And even as I walk on through the pasture, hands moving through the routine now I'm 20. I'm 20 and sitting on my Alma Mater's dock of Cayuga lake. There are only the hint of the start of fire fly season, but they're there. It's too cold to swim, but we're hot with youth, and booze, and brazenness and swim naked under the late spring moon. I've never felt this sure, this wonderful, surrounded by passion and brilliance and folly.
And then I'm myself now, and all of those things at once. I'm a tired farmer, amazed at his life, and weary of the day. I'm still stressed about the season, aware of the struggles. But the 6, and the 16, and the 20, and the 29 versions of myself beg me just to watch for a minute. The sheep and goats stand surprisingly still, and quiet, perhaps in their own reverence of the show.
There is truly very little more brilliant then the glow of a firefly.