This will be a short post but I am inspired to put this out before I adjourn to the deck for the remainder of the evening. Alas, the lighting bugs or the Bug d'éclairage (don't I just sound so much smarter than my college G.P.A. when I write in French?) will not be joining us. They, for the season, are retired.
It always is a bit melancholy to see them leave. It is as if the balloon of internal summer is popped. A forewarning that the warmth and long, lingering sun will leave us. Way off in the distance, winter rolls over in his sleep. While he still slumbers, awake he will. Such is life.
Summer is a strange season in many ways. It is perilously short, yet it lasts forever. I remember the Beach Boys had an album (um, that's a pre-digital recording for you younger readers) entitled, Endless Summer. Who knows, in some ways, perhaps it was.
If you grew up in the Midwest, you likely caught lighting bugs. You begged mom for a Cool Whip container or a small shoe box to keep them in. You gently placed your captured bugs there, resting them on grass and weeds harvested from the yard. In the morning, you let them go and were puzzled why they would neither fly nor light. Alas, it was not the right time. The sun was too high, the day too new.
As I look back on those days, I do so with gratitude. I am grateful for those warm summer nights, of my Dad sitting on the front stoop, a Dutch Masters' cigar burning faithfully in his hand. I recall when there was a final arbitrator of when it was time to come in, the street light. But if there were lighting bugs, you might be able to stay in the yard and catch a few. They were as pretty as harmless. They were the Able to the Cain of the mosquito. Then, they were gone. About the time they left the yard there was the dread of whispers of "Back to School" sales. Alas, summer was fading. For all its warmth and fun, it was powerless against the merciless march of the calendar and its battalions of days moving closer to September. If you were a kid, sad tidings indeed.
Those days are gone and in the final analysis, that is a good thing. Think about it: Without the march of time, without the loss of past summers, we are not able to have the falls that follow and the growth of our lives. I wrote last week about seeing Les Miz and how awesomely wonderful that show was. Had not those lightning bugs of my past left and time moved forward, I would not have had all those future memories. You cannot have a future without letting go of the past. In other words, weep not for the empty shoe box. It's time has come and gone.
So it's off to the deck (and maybe a slightly better cigar than what my Pop puffed on those years ago) to enjoy the evening. Who knows, maybe up on the hill, just barely visible, I might see one final lightning bug. Then again, if I close my eyes, I can see all of them just fine. That's good enough for me on this warm summer Saturday night.
Be well my friends.